How do I begin to write about Rachel Spangler?  I honestly can’t remember when I first met Rachel.  Was it at the GCLS conference in 2009?  Was it when she set up an author reading for herself, Nell Stark, CP Rowlands, Anne Laughlin, and Jennifer Harris in Chicago because I whined that “no one ever comes to Chicago”?  Regardless of when and where I first met Rachel, I’m so very glad I did.  Rachel happens to be one of the nicest, most intelligent people I know.  And her son?  Absolutely adorable beyond description.

I heard Rachel say on a few occasions, “I’m a hit with moms.”  Truer words.  My mother met Rachel in 2010 at the conference in Orlando.  From that time on, Rachel was my mother’s “little sweet buns.”  You’ll have to ask Rachel why.

Reception 10Awhile ago I was asked to write a blog about the Golden Crown Literary Society’s Annual Conference, and I readily agreed. I love the GCLS, and I’m always eager to help them out in any way I can.  However, as time went on and I saw other authors start to post blogs on the subject, I began to wonder what I could add to the conversation. There’s so much to love about the conference, way too much to put into one blog, but so many awesome readers have already written about what’s in it for them, and far more eloquent authors than I have told stories about how the conference helps their careers and craft. I felt kind of stuck in the middle until I realized maybe that’s the best place to be.  So, today I wanted to talk a little bit about the intersection of readers and writers at the GCLS con.

GCLS09 49There are so many great events out there for readers/writers of Lesfic.  I never miss Women’s Week in Ptown, and I dream of going to the BSB event in Palm Springs or the LoneStar Lesfic festival, but if I could pick only one event all year, it would be GCLS for the pure fact that it gives me the most bang for my buck when it comes to quality interactions between readers and writers.  For one, there’s just so many of both.  The actually make-up of the group changes every year, but it’s usually close to 50/50 or 60/40 between writers and readers, and friendships are forged across those lines all the time.  I’ve met almost all of my closest reader friends at GCLS.  I met one of my beta readers at my first GCLS, and then she introduced me to super-reader Elaine Mulligan, who went on to marry the great Lee Lynch.  I also met my writing BFF Georgia Beers (who will be giving this year’s key note address) and new texting buddy Melissa Brayden before her first book even came out.  GCLS has also been a great place for me to connect with other business-related contacts like my editor Lynda Sandoval and a whole slew of reviewers, reporters, and upstart publishers.  It doesn’t matter what kind of folks you want to connect with: Odds are they are at GCLS.

Reception 5I know what some of you are thinking, all those people come to other events too, and of course you’re right.  You might run into a publisher or editor at other events, and you’ll certainly see authors and readers in various places throughout the year, but I think the interactions at GCLS stand out in two areas: quantity and quality.  GCLS offers you four days of nothing but lesfic-centered events, and every event is open to every attendee.  There are tons of workshops and formal sessions, but there is also ample time to hang out at meals, around the pool, or on the dance floor. You are simply surrounded by authors and readers for four days solid. And there are tons of authors and readers to choose from. Hundreds of them! Plus almost everyone stays in the same place, so there’s even a chance you’ll run into authors and fellow readers in the halls or the lobby or the airport shuttle. Trust me, you’ll have plenty of time to meet all the people you came to meet, but it’s not simply about being in the same place at the same time.

IMG_2890What I think GCLS offers better than any other event is the quality of interactions between readers and readers, readers and authors, and author and authors.  There is every kind of interaction available to you throughout the week.  If you want to get together with your listserv or facebook friends, there’s a time for that.  You want a sneak peak of upcoming work, there’s a time for that.  You want to learn the craft from some of the best in the business, there’s a time for that.  You want to eavesdrop on your favorite authors chatting over a cup of coffee, there’s a time for that. You want to dance with your favorite author, there’s a time to bid on that.  From the formal to the informal to the borderline insane, there’s something for everyone at this conference.

The GCLS is your one-stop shop for anyone and everyone remotely related to lesbian fiction, and because you’re still reading this blog, I assume you’re at least remotely interested in lesbian fiction, so the only question left is this: Why aren’t you registered for this year’s GCLS conference in Dallas?

Rachel Spangler never set out to be an award winning author. She was just so poor and easily bored during her college years that she had to come up with creative ways to entertain herself, and her first novel, Learning Curve, was born out of one such attempt. She was sincerely surprised when it was accepted for publication and even more shocked when it won the Golden Crown Literary Award for Debut Author. She also won a Goldie for her second novel, Trails Merge. Since writing is more fun than a real job, and so much cheaper than therapy, Rachel continued to type away, leading to the publication of The Long Way Home, LoveLife, Spanish Heart, and the forthcoming Does She Love You. She plans to continue writing as long as anyone anywhere will keep reading.

Rachel and her partner, Susan, are raising their young son in western New York, where during the winter they make the most of the lake effect snow on local ski slopes, a hobby that inspired her second novel, Trails Merge. In the summer, they love to travel and watch their beloved St. Louis Cardinals. Regardless of the season, she always makes time for a good romance, whether she’s reading it, writing it, or living it.

For more information your visit Rachel online or on Facebook.

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