GCLS Annual Conference: Why Pittsburgh?

Carleen Spry’s excellent blog on why GCLS is going to Pittsburgh this year.

Frivolous Views

The Golden Crown Literary Society’s Annual Conference is held in a different city each year – except for that 3 year period when we were in Orlando. (That whole “let’s go to the same city in consecutive years” thing won’t be repeated.) Since I’ve been a member, we’ve been to Orlando, Minneapolis, Dallas, Portland, New Orleans, Washington DC, Chicago, and Las Vegas. Prior to that, the conference was held in Atlanta, Phoenix, and New Orleans (the first year – we returned for our 10th anniversary). 

In 2019, we’ll be travelling to Pittsburgh, PA for our conference!

Now, I’m excited about this location. I’ve never been to Pittsburgh, but I’ve heard so many great things about the city. So, I’m pretty psyched about going. But I know there are people out there saying, “Oof! Pittsburgh? Why?”

Well, as a member of the Board, I have a little insight I can share…

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Author Spotlight – Tammy Bird

Writing academy

The Writing Academy staff wanted to do a “Ten Questions with Awesome Authors” spotlight. We sat down with WA graduate Doctor Tammy Bird to find out a little bit about her life.

Turns out we adored her too much to let her go, so we slipped a couple more questions in.



  • When you signed up for the GCLS writing academy, what were you expecting?

I was looking for community. I had an idea and a dream, but I had no idea what to do with either. One night I put “writing classes” in a search engine. The rest is history.

  • What is your current writing process?

I used to think I was a pantser, but after writing my first novel, I realize the value of plotting. Now I guess I am a bit of both. I have a stack of story ideas. When I pick one to turn into a short story or novel, I now do a rough outline, arc, and character freewrite. For my current WIP, I actually have a pretty extensive (for me) outline and multiple character sketches.

  • Do you prefer ice cream or potato chips?

How can this even be a question? Both. Duh. What is sweet without salty, anyway? (Ed. note -the Writing Academy takes no responsibility for the views expressed by this author. Go chips!)

  • BirdSquareForBBWriting-wise, what are you working on now?

I am about 30000 words into a YA coming out meets domestic thriller novel. I was really trying to write something romancy and fun, but my characters had other ideas and now I have a hot mess of hormones and hatred happening. It is great fun!

  • Tell us something surprising about you.

Hm. Well, I am a high school dropout with a terminal degree. That usually makes for a great conversation starter.

  • If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Honestly, I am not a big travel bug. An Alaskan cruise, maybe. Seeing icebergs as tall as mountains would be breathtaking.

  • What book(s) is currently on your nightstand?

There are four: From bottom to top: Eating Life, Beth Burnett; Wicked River, Jenny Milchman; Boy, 9, Missing, Nic Joseph; and Dunne With Editing: A Last Look At Your Manuscript, Nann Dunne.

  • You have an upcoming book. Tell us a little bit about it.


It is titled, Sandman. It is a psychological thriller set on Buxton Beach in North Carolina. The idea for the book came from a visit to the OBX a few years ago with my wife. It was October. The beach was quiet. We went into a little ice cream shop. The man behind the counter was super friendly. As we chatted, I said, “It sure is quiet around here in the off season.” To which he replied, “Sure ‘nough. Could bury a body in the dunes and no one would notice.” In my novel, guess where the serial killer is stashing the bodies? Yep. In the dunes. (Ed. note –  Buy this awesome book here.)

  • What is the best piece of writing advice you have ever received?

If you do not have time to write one thousand words, write one hundred and fifty. One hundred and fifty words per day for one year will produce the rough draft for a novel. I remind myself of this all of the time.

  • What were your main takeaways from the GCLS Writing Academy?

Friendships. Connections. And Sandman.

  • Is there anything you want us to know that we haven’t asked?

I don’t know of anything in particular other than to say how thankful I am to have stumbled across the writing academy that evening as I looked for opportunities to follow a dream. I didn’t realize how very much I needed GCLS and my writing friends until I had them. Now I cannot imagine my life any other way.

Thank you so much for joining us, Tammy! We look forward to seeing this book in paperback so we can hold it in our hot little hands. In the meantime, we’ve already pre-ordered the Kindle Edition.

If you are interested in pre-ordering Tammy’s book, Sandman, check it out here.




The Writing Academy Author Spotlight

Writing academy

The Writing Academy blog will feature spotlights on the talented writers to come out of this program. Next week, we are featuring the brilliantly talented Tammy Bird.

Tammy stunned us with a live reading from her upcoming novel during the in-class readings, and she continued to impress us with her dedication and commitment to writing throughout the program.

Join us next week to learn more about Tammy and her excellent novel. And stay tuned next month for another author spotlight from the GCLS Writing Academy.


The GCLS Writing Academy


The GCLS Writing Academy is a year long intensive program for new or relatively new writers who have written at least part of a novel. In this course, students will learn the critical components of quality writing. The Writing Academy goes beyond craft of writing and takes students through all aspects of writing and publishing a novel.


Check us out here.

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