I don’t do this often, because it’s kind of awkward for me to talk about money when I have so little of it, but I’m about do so now because the cause it just that important to me.
This is Birds Give Back day at my alma mater, Illinois State University, and I was asked to be an “ambassador” for the cause. I’m told this is an honor, but I was joking with a friend that what it really boils down to is that instead of the university calling to ask me for money, they have asked me to ask you for money. I see this honor clearly, folks. I am not getting duped by the fancy terms or videos, or the promise of a lunch box if I raise enough money to dwarf the actual retail cost of said lunch box.
And yet, even seeing those incentives for what they are, I am still jumping wholeheartedly into my ambassadorship role, because my time at ISU made me who I am today.
ISU is the first place I ever got to be fully out. It was a bastion of love and acceptance amid a vast landscape of cornfields and soy bean fields where I had previously lived in fear.
I started dating, and married my wife during my time at ISU.
I became a women’s studies major and learned the history, philosophy, and argumentation skills that would help me articulate demand for a fairer, more inclusive society.
I learned the ins and outs of campaigning politics and human rights legislation at ISU.
I met Jackson’s Big Papi there, and this awesome family sprang to life.
I became the president of PRIDE and Speaker’s Bureau, where I learned to raise my voice for my community and tell our stories, even when my voice shook.
I wrote my first book while I was an undergraduate at ISU.
I wrote my second book during graduate school there.
I met and cultivated relationships with the most wonderfully inspiring people who continue to support and challenge me, as mentors, beta readers, editors, sounding boards, and unwavering supporters.
I tell you all of this in order to make it clear that I would not be the person, the author, or the community member that I am today if not for my time at Illinois State University. That is why I feel such a compelling need to give back, and to pay it forward.
As part of this process, ISU sent me the promotional video below. They asked that I share it so that you can see the things that current and future Redbirds might miss out on if donors like me, and hopefully you, don’t step up. As you watch it, though, I hope that in your mind you will also ask yourself what it would be like if you’d never read a Rachel Spangler novel (or heard of Sean Hayes or Jane Lynch, who are also Redbirds!), or be better yet, ask yourself what it would be like if the next lesbian romance novelists never get the chances I was afforded at Illinois State.
I hope that thought alone is enough for you to open up your wallet and give a few dollars. However, in case it’s not, I’d like to sweeten the deal for ONE DAY ONLY!
Anyone who donates at least $100 dollars will be guaranteed to receive any one of my audiobooks or ebooks.
Anyone who donates $250 will receive a free, autographed, print copy of any one of my books, along with a handwritten thank-you note.
And finally, anyone who donates $500 or more to this cause that means so much to me will receive not only a free, autographed, print copy of any one of my books and a thank-you card from yours truly, but also the right to name a side character in one of my future books!
Again, all you have to do is use this link:
I appreciate it, and I know for a fact that so many future Redbirds will as well!