Heartfelt Thanks

GCLS 2017

Golden Crown Literary fun in 2017. From left to right: Fiona Riley, D. Jackson Leigh and Donna K. Ford.

I was unable to join in the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) festivities this past weekend because I was celebrating some festivities of a more personal nature here on the Left Coast. Evelyn and I were taking some time away for our 10th wedding anniversary. (Thanks to everyone who sent good wishes.)

I’m so grateful to my friends present at the awards ceremony Saturday night who texted me play-by-plays as the winners were announced. Evelyn and I did zany happy dances around the beach-front cottage we’d rented for the weekend when we heard the news that Love At Cooper’s Creek and Proxima Five each won an award. I’m thankful no one was there to videotape my goofy footwork, although we did snap a couple of exuberant selfies.

The timing of the awards was sort of uncanny. Friday night we’d gone out to dinner and we were sitting on the sofa chatting afterward. I asked Evelyn if she thought I should keep writing books. I was having one of those low moments we all have where life and work and reality take too much of our time… and we wonder if what we’re doing matters. We wonder if what we’re doing is good. I know all writers and artists go through these moments of self-doubt.

And then Saturday night, two of my novels won category awards. It was like the universe knew I needed a boost and sent me one. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me.

Writing is such a solitary event. And yet, the stories we create, thanks to social media and Goodreads, have a large reach. It’s easy for people to review books or not review books, post comments or not post comments. Some are good, some aren’t. It’s hard not to read reviews and on the rare chance that you do, it’s even harder not to let the slightest negative feedback send you into a spiral. I realize I’m saying things here that many of us have felt, so this isn’t news to anyone, but I wanted to say this before launching into this next part.

I got into this writing gig primarily to find a community. I’ve met so many great writers, editors, and readers since I began working with my publisher, Bold Strokes Books. The GCLS has been a part of that expanding circle of community. The GCLS is based on a kinship of readers and writers who support each other through the low points and high points and celebrate lesbian literature. I know it’s no easy task to run a group like this, and even more complicated to host an annual convention. So, I want to say thank you to the GCLS, and especially to the judges who spent many hours reading the books submitted for the awards. You have no idea how much this acknowledgment means to writers, and I for one would like to send you my heartfelt thanks.