Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What Ann Crispin Means To Me

Sometime during writing The Chronicles of Nowhere, but before writing Gifts of the Blood, I went through a miscarriage. I took it hard, as to be expected. Looking back from the perspective of years and a healthy pregnancy, I can see that it was one of those events that redefined me. I didn't know that at the time. Hell, I was barely coherent and needed help getting dressed. But one of the things that helped me hang on was the fact that I had a book on my hands. A book I cared about and had poured my soul into. A book that was, in its way, my baby too. And I was determined that this book, this kinda-baby, find its way into the world.

Ann Crispin helped me do just that. She took my book and made it better, and helped me get it ready to send out into the world. She did it with kindness, with humor, and with a hard-edged criticism born from years as a professional writer, teacher, and public servant. Over lunch at DragonCon she held my hand and told me she was sorry about my loss, but that I wrote with style, and that I could do this thing.  So I did. I'm doing it still. Because of her.

And now she is dying.

According to her latest and probably last Facebook post, chemotherapy seems to be failing her. She is having her messages read to her because she doesn't know how much strength she has left. Like so many things in life, I had no idea how much this would upset me until it happened. I didn't realize how much I owed her, or how important she has been to me as a writer. She even took the time to look over my first ever book offer, because, as a founding member of Writer Beware, she has dedicated her life to making sure writers do not get ripped off, and to suing the hell out of those who prey on us.

Her body of work is truly impressive, and includes some of my personal favorites, like the Han Solo trilogy of Star Wars books, and Time for Yesterday and Yesterday's Son in the Star Trek universe. (I have high hopes her Han Solo trilogy will see the light of the silver screen as Disney has taken over the franchise.) That's not even getting into her work with Pirates of the Caribbean, V, and her own original Starbridge series. She's served as president of SFWA, founded Writer Beware with Victoria Strauss, has won more awards than I can count, and has taught and mentored many writers, including the Nebula award-winning Eugie Foster. If you don't know Ann or aren't familiar with her work, it's well worth it to take a look. And although I will continue to hope for a miracle, all I can say now is that my prayers are with her and her family, all her family, including all the lives she has touched and helped.

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