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Bold Strokes Books
 Photo credit: Elaine Mulligan Lynch
Cate Culpepper was a unique voice in lesbian fiction for close to two decades. Her works are only part of her legacy, in that her spirit will continue in the memories of all those whose lives she touched, through word and deed. Cate designated a family member to receive the royalties from the future sale of her works and Bold Strokes Books plans to keep Cate’s works available as long as a single book sells. Which I expect will be forever.
Thanks, Cate—for the great stories and the even greater inspiration.
Len Barot, Publisher, Bold Strokes Books
Cindy Cresap: It was my great honor to be Cate Culpepper’s editor for each of her eight novels. Cate was one of the very first authors I worked with at Bold Strokes Books. She was also one of the most challenging, maddening, contradictory, hilarious, inspiring, and rewarding. Usually over the same manuscript.
I soon learned she was also very sneaky. Any time I asked her to make a change she really didn’t want to make, she would begrudgingly agree (most of the time). And that’s when I knew I was in trouble. I knew Cate would find a way to get her revenge in the next book. It was usually very subtle­—a line here or there, an inside joke only I would recognize that referenced the prior issue.
Read the rest of Cindy's remembrance, Mock Not Her Chobos: Remembering Cate Culpepper.
Lee Lynch: Author Cate Culpepper was friends with just about everyone in her life. Our friendship began in 2006, when we met in Olympia, Washington for a signing. In 2007 my sweetheart-to-be and I visited Cate’s hotel room at the Golden Crown Literary Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Cate was wearing oversized, faux-furred brown bear slippers, a vision I will never forget—and never allowed her to forget.
I have a plethora of words to describe this loving, lovable, talented, empathetic, funny, irreverent, raunchy, generous lesbian storyteller and counselor. Those who read her Facebook page or her books will see evidence of all of this. She earned a living working with street kids, got a master's degree so she could earn bottom-dollar wages doing it. The good karma she accrued in this life will surely propel her to a long, happy, and fruitful next-time-around.
Read the rest of Lee's remembrance, Cheeseburgers In Paradise: Cate Culpepper 1957-2014.
Banner by Cate Culpepper
Rachel Spangler: I had a dream last night about losing a friend. When I woke up, I thought for a second that’s all it had been, a dream. Tears fell again upon realizing it wasn’t. I know that Cate Culpepper would not want me to cry over her passing, and yet I can’t seem to stop. I’ve dissolved into a blubbering mess multiple times over the past twenty hours, and I fully believe she’s somewhere looking down on my tears and cracking jokes about them right now. She was irreverent like that, never rash or inconsiderate in her humor, but also unwilling to let me slip into too dark a place or take anything too seriously for my own good. She saw the good in things, in people, in me. From the posts I’ve seen both publicly and privately, I think she played the same role in many people’s lives. Read the rest of Rachel's remembrance here.
D. Jackson Leigh: It’s been years since I pulled her books down, but tonight I opened the first and ran my finger over the inscription as if hoping it could conjure the author.
For Jackson, My Sister Amazon! Thanks and be well -Cate Culpepper
It was 2006, I think, and I’d traveled alone to the Golden Crown Literary Society Convention, not knowing a single soul there. But I’d found Cate’s Amazon series on the Internet and somehow tracked her a year before to a yahoo group known as the Kindred Lodge and joined. The participants role-played characters to write stories together in a fantasy world. My character was a cocky horse whisperer named Rider. Cate was known as the randy sea dog Capt. Klancy. She created the group and attracted a dozen or so talented writers. I was in complete awe of them and sat up very late, many nights to write stories with the group.
Read the rest of D. Jackson's remembrance, O Captain, my Captain!
Victoria Brownworth: Some people are funny. Most people are not. Those of us who are, and who find humor essential to managing life’s many hills and valleys, appreciate other funny people. A lot. Humor breathes life into our days, whether we realize it or not. Cate Culpepper was funny. And she breathed life into all around her. She didn’t write humor–she wrote horror and fantasy–but she was, as a person, funny. That humor put her in a special category for me as a reader, for me as a lesbian, for me as someone battling terminal illness, as she did until Oct. 25, when she succumbed. Read the rest of Victoria's remembrance in the Lambda Literary Review.
MJ Williamz: Cate Culpepper was instrumental in my getting published. If it wasn’t for an afternoon spent with her and Lee Lynch, I don’t know that I’d have pursued my writing.
Cate and I were in a book club together in Seattle where she always had a kind and encouraging word. She treated me like a real author even before I was published. She’ll definitely be missed by this lowly member of her tribe.
Photo: Cate receiving smooches from MJ Williamz, Lee Lynch, and Karis Walsh
C.J. Harte: I never had the chance to meet Cate but her novels opened up new worlds and ideas. Most of all she had strong women to admire.
Clifford Henderson: While I didn't know Cate personally, I eagerly looked forward to each of her books. She made me so happy in her novel River Walker when she included La Llorona. And Windigo Thrall was a hoot. I've always been fascinated by these spooks and it was so fun to read books that featured them. She's left this earthly plane, for sure, but I do believe she'll be out there with all the other writing muses, inspiring us to craft better more rousing stories. I imagine her sitting at a café with Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman; the three of them having a good, hearty laugh.
Kathi Isserman: While her time with us was too short, Cate sure knew how to fill it with sisterly love.
Connie Ward: We first met Cate at GCLS in 2006 in Atlanta. She  was very shy, but you wouldn't know it when she took command of a workshop. I took the picture Cate used on her book covers at the Atlanta conference and was honored that she wanted to use it. We shared so many moments of joy, laughter, and, toward the end, tears on my part. Cate was one courageous woman who lived and loved life on her terms. Her little Westie, Kirby, was her seventeen-year-old love.
You don't hear this often, but everyone who knew Cate Culpepper loved her. I was fortunate to have had Cate in my life—ironically I received her first BSB autograph and probably one of her last autographs in July this year when we saw her in Portland. I was also one of her beta readers and a true fan of hers. Cate put on a brave face and joked even though we knew she was very ill when we saw her last.
Shelley Thrasher: I first met Cate at the 2006 GCLS con in Atlanta. I recall her sitting and smoking alone in front of the restaurant where Rad hosted our BSB dinner. She seemed rather shy. The next day I heard her read, and her voice boomed, her accent effective. There she didn’t seem shy at all, but in total command of her audience.
When I copy-edited several of Cate’s books, we always joked about when I once pointed out that she’d mistakenly changed the hair color of one of her heroines in the middle of her manuscript. She was so disgusted with her error she told me she planned to make the main characters in the rest of her novels bald, to avoid repeating her error.
Over the years, we e-mailed occasionally, especially on our birthdays. She always called me Dr. Flasher because she said that was one of the only words that rhymed with Thrasher and that she could envision me flashing someone. I wrote serious poetry and she wrote ditties, and we respected each other’s style.
I last saw Cate when we drove west to the 2014 GCLS con in Portland, which she was too ill to attend. She looked much paler, but her humor was intact. We shared a last supper with her and exchanged gifts. I’m so glad to have shared those eight years with this amazing woman.
Jove Belle: Cate was…so many things to so many people. She was kind and fiercely supportive. She was unafraid of the truth and told it with sharp wit. She was warm and inviting to new authors, and though I suffered from a very serious case of fan-girl squee every time we interacted, she took me by the hand and encouraged me. Cate was, to sum it up in one word, awesome. Her death was not unexpected. She’d been very ill for what seemed like a long time as it was happening, but in retrospect seems like no time at all. Despite knowing what was coming, I am still stunned and heartbroken by the reality of her leaving us.
I told Cate more than once how I would happily follow her into the mountains to build her Tristaine. I can only hope that she finds her tribe in the next evolution. I’m sure they’ve been waiting for their Amazon Queen.
Bold Strokes Books  •  648 S Cambridge Rd  •  Johnsonville, NY 12094
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