This year at GCLS (my first ever), I was lucky enough to meet a new member of the BSB family, KC Richardson. KC had literally just received her offer from Bold Strokes as she was traveling to the conference. It was a pleasure to get to know her and her wife a little bit, so I invited her to share her experience and introduce herself to y’all.
She’s so new, in fact, that she hasn’t set up all of her social media awesomeness yet. For now, however, you can go be her friend on facebook.
Most people remember where they were and what they were doing when a significant event happened in their life. On the morning of July 9, 2014, my wife and I were sitting on our back patio for a few minutes before leaving for the airport. We were flying to Portland, Oregon to attend the Golden Crown Literary Society conference. We were both excited to meet some of our favorite authors and Facebook friends. As I was checking my phone, I noticed there was an e-mail from Bold Strokes Books. I had submitted my first manuscript many weeks prior, and was waiting to hear if they wanted to publish it, or if I should never write another word again and just stick to reading. I was hesitant to open that e-mail, just as I was twenty-seven years ago when I received a letter from the university I applied to that told me I had been granted admission. I knew my life could change at that very moment.
I opened the e-mail from BSB and read it…and re-read it…and read it a third time, just to be certain my eyes were not deceiving me. “Honey,” I whispered, “Look at this.” My wife grabbed my phone, read the e-mail, and looked up at me with wide eyes and a beaming smile. She said, “You did it!” Tears filled my eyes as I repeated her statement. “I did it!” We jumped up, and hugged, and laughed, and cried. This was a feeling that was indescribable. I am an author that Bold Strokes Books wants to publish. I would be attending GCLS as not only a reader, but as an author.
I was introduced to lesbian fiction just about four years ago by my friend, Carrie, and it has become my favorite addiction. Not one single day has gone by in that time that I haven’t read for pleasure. After reading more books than I could count, I decided I had a story to write. A few years ago, my wife and I attended a Bold Strokes Books event in Palm Springs, CA, and one of the first panels we heard was on getting started as a writer. Nell Stark and Kim Baldwin gave great advice- write what you know. So, I did. It took me over two years to write my manuscript, mostly because I didn’t like the way I started it. I decided to let the characters write it for me. I persevered and as I typed my last paragraph, I cried. I know what you’re thinking…this chick cries a lot! You would be absolutely correct in making that assumption. I cry when I’m happy, sad, frustrated, touched. What can I say? I’m an emotional woman. I had my wife read the story because even though she loves me with every breath, she’s also the most honest person I know, and she would tell me if the story was good or not. I also sent it to two very close friends to read and rip it apart as they saw fit. I implemented their suggestions, read it again for what felt like the hundredth time, and submitted it to Bold Strokes Books. They sent me an e-mail that said they received my manuscript and would let me know in twelve to sixteen weeks. WHAT?!? Let me tell you, the further along time went, the more anxious I became. I fantasized about attending GCLS and introducing myself to other BSB writers as their new colleague, but I wasn’t scheduled to hear back from BSB until after the conference. Reality set in and told me to keep my mouth shut. Don’t jinx it!
My fantasy became my reality and my dream come true when I read that e-mail. The first BSB author I encountered was D. Jackson Leigh on Thursday afternoon. I was on my way to a Master class at GCLS when I introduced myself. I told her I met her a couple of years ago at the BSB event in Palm Springs, and she mentioned I looked familiar. I told her I was a big fan, and now her colleague. She seemed genuinely pleased and invited me to sit down with her. We spent the next three hours talking about BSB, traveling, writing, reading and our favorite pastime—college basketball. She was so helpful, so friendly, and I felt enveloped under her protective wing. She introduced me to the other wonderful people associated with BSB that were in attendance, and they all welcomed me into the family. They invited me to dinner before the awards ceremony, where I was able to get to know some of the other authors. At times, while talking with the other authors, I felt like my head was going to explode, or that I had left my body and was hovering, watching myself interact with my new colleagues. These were women who wrote books I love to read, books that make such a huge impact on my life, and now they were my family.
I have to take a moment here to thank a few of the authors from conference. Our very dear friend, Penelope Grey, picked us up from the airport in Portland and I got to tell her my good news in person. She has been a huge supporter of my writing, and I think she was nearly as thrilled as I was. I met Beth Burnett for the first time in person when we arrived to the Vendor’s area and I quietly told her my good news. She proceeded to introduce me to her author friends and brag about my manuscript being published. One author that wasn’t at conference, but I couldn’t wait to tell, was Andrea Bramhall. I told her weeks ago that if I found out that BSB wanted me, I wanted to tell her via Skype. Unfortunately, she was on holiday with her partner and didn’t have strong enough signal to skype and I was on my way to the airport. Instead, I texted her and had to wait for her to receive it. As much as I wanted to tell her face to face, I had to tell her immediately. Andrea has become a very good friend to me over the past couple of years, more like a sister from another mister, and besides my wife, she’s been my biggest cheerleader. Her faith in me and my writing mean more to me than I could ever express, and according to Andrea, that’s a scary thing since we’re writers.
This is still so surreal to me, and I have to keep pinching myself to prove I’m not dreaming. This was an event that I will never, ever forget where I was, what I was doing, and how it felt to be welcomed into my new family.
KC Richardson lives in Southern California with her wife and fur kids. When she’s not working her day job or reading, she’s coming up with new characters and story lines. Release date for her first book is to be announced at a later date. KC can be found on facebook.