As many of you know, I wrote a book about angels. Well, not really. I mean, my angels aren’t your typical winged (two syllables, please) creatures that come down from heaven underneath the watchful eye of some deity. Nope. My angels are real, yo. Like street.
So I know a thing or two about angels. At The 2012 Pikes Peak Writers Conference, I got to soar among the angels.
If angels are divine beings who watch over and guide us poor human schmucks, well, then, here is a list of angels who are doing God’s work because ain’t no more schmucky group of humans than writers. Oh, we are a wretched sort and we need as much love, encouragement, and donuts as we can get. Thanks to Laura Hayden, Bonnie Mandeville, Chris Mandeville, Todd Fahnestock, Pam McCutcheon, Bill May, Cathy Dilts, Julia Allen, Jennifer LaPointe, Mandy Houk, Mandy McKenzie, and Jodi Anderson for all the hours they spent, the sorrow, the tears, the joy, thank you so much for giving so many angels a place to roost.
Or can angels roost? My daughter asked the difference between a fairy and an angel. I told her it was generally a question of hypocrisy, theology, and dandelion milk. So what is the difference between a muse and an angel? Ask Bree Ervin because she is both. A muse, an angel, a writer, a publicist, an explosion of a woman. I am so glad to know her.
Let me pitch you real quick. High concept. Vampire Angel. Yeah, you got it. Julia Allen. Vampire Angel. Full manuscript please.
Everyone knows that angels are messengers from the gods, er God, er god, er Gods. And fiction writers are messengers as well. Congrats to Chris Devlin, Andrea Stein, and Lawdon for doing so well in the contests. Andrea Stein won in romance! I room with her at Pikes Peak. Yes, that woman knows all about romance. Cue porn music…brown chicken, brown cow. And Chris Devlin! She is my Girl Friday and her book is about Catholic School Alchemy. Didn’t wanna be pitched to? Too late. And yeah, full manuscript please. Props to my girl. And Lawdon? He’s like the Mary Tyler Moore of writers. He’s gonna make it after all.
It’s been said that God takes care of drunks, dogs, and babies. I’d add fiction writers to that list. Eve Morton, awesome. Betsy Dornbusch. Awesome. Terry Banker. Awesome. Angels of the bar! Angels of my heart! I signed their books, and no, Betsy, I wrote books, not boobs. Eve Morton has a fantastic screenplay about clones, Betsy Dornbusch’s first chapter of Archive of Fire rocks, and Terry Banker has a scene that has totally captured my twisted imagination. Angels all.
I opened the gates of heaven to my friend Becky Hodgkins, though I wasn’t there to escort her through. However, Gary Jonas was there, but wait, I don’t wanna get all Gary Jonas on you, but it was great seeing my friend Becky at a writers conference, hawking her wares. Shaking her moneymaker. Dang, I went all Gary Jonas. I’ll stop.
Contrary to some people’s opinion, agents are not demons. They are humans with the souls of demons. Kidding. No, literary agents are the angels of the fiction world, bringing stories out of the rabble and setting them upon the bookshelf of the gods. Unless you e-pub, then you can put your own stories on that lofty shelf. Mark Coker challenged me to really evaluate my life and he followed his vision to the heavens. God bless you, Mark Coker, wherever you are. And for those angelic agents, Kristin Nelson, Taylor Martindale, Weronika Janczuk, may you find the books that move the world. I would imagine that is the best part of your job.
I got to talk to Rob Killam. He’s writing a zombie book. Hmm, high concept, zombie angels. Okay, I’ll stop. Great seeing him again.
And I met John K. Patterson. With a name like that, well, total writer. John was my guardian angel at the conference, always around when I needed a smile. Thank you, John. May angels ride shotgun on your ride through this hard, old world.
After his keynote, who can argue the divinity of Donald Maass? Well, except for Mark Coker, no one. I watched Donald Maass stay up all night talking to writers. He’s a warrior.
I sat next to Jennifer Gottschalk and Jesse Kuiken in the Thursday session. Both writers. Both teachers. Both angels. Judith ‘Judy’ Robbins Rose? Angel with a cool book. Karen Emanuelson? Beowulf angel. J.T. Evans? Guy has angels working a wiki for his books, and those angels are working overtime.
Of course, angels serve God, I mean, like really serve, like sycophants. Angels are the ultimate YES beings. And do you know who I serve? Deb Courtney, Sue Mitchell, and Alicia Howie. I spent a lazy afternoon in the bar with those goddesses, and I’m a better man for it. I expect great things from all three. Someday, if I’m lucky, I’ll be Deb Courtney’s pool boy, and Sue Mitchell’s peon, and Alicia Howie’s chauffeur. Next year, I’ll drive her out in the stretch limo from the literary mecca that is Danville, Illinois. Word.
Zack Bertha is possessed by a demon. That demon’s name? Awesomeness.
I watched Carol Berg talk a young author down off the ledge. She’s angelic.
Ian Thomas Healy fluttered down from heaven on wings of hair. We chatted. Hair wings, gotta get me a pair.
DeAnna Knippling moderated me. It was a thankless job. But lord, do I need moderating. My daughter is reading one of your middle grade books. And loving DeAnna and her stories!
Ron Cree means angel in ancient Honduran Sanskrit. Look it up.
Do you know who is seated at the right hand of the Father? Well, it’s a critique group that meets on Tuesday afternoons and Thursday nights in Colorado Springs. Anita Romero, R. Powl Smith, Court Pearman, and a whole host of other angels hold court, write fiction, and prepare for the apocalypse. If I am anywhere near Colorado Springs on a Thursday night, I am going to that critique group. I can feel their power from here. Raw angelic power. And the dying monkeys, I can smell the dying monkeys. Or is it mind control? PTSD? I’ll stop. But dude, if my name was Court Pearman, I’d believe in God again.
I don’t know if J.A. Kazimer or Kirk Farber believe in God, but I sat with them and we signed books. I am a lucky, lucky man. You don’t have to believe in God to be a writer. But it helps.
At the conference, they put me in the back with all the rabble-rousers, and let me tell you, ain’t no rabble-rousers like librarian rabble-rousers. Kara Seal, Leah Parker, and LaTonya Frank sat with me and we killed it. That hotel is still shaking. Librarians are angels with a penchant for hushing. It’s cliché, but I used the word “penchant” so that excuses everything.
Yes, in the back of the ballroom, I hung out with other angels with dirty faces. I got to sit with Ed Raetz, a guy named Sander, and of course, I got to talk to Jene Jackson about her life and world. And Christina, Joanne, and Morgan Leigh, whom I am so drawn to. You can’t tell me there’s no God.
So yes, I am blessed, and yes, Virginia, there are angels. I know I missed people in this long, rambling list of divinities, but heaven can rage at me next year, Pikes Peak Writers Conference, 2013. Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad, the seas and what fills them resound!