1959 – 2014
By Deb Stover
A shining light went out on February 17, 2014. Trish Jensen’s death wasn’t a surprise, but expecting it makes it no less tragic. There are some people in this world who really are larger than life.
Former NINC treasurer Trish Jensen was one, and her loss leaves a void in hearts and lives all over the world.
Though she lived and wrote her romantic comedies in the same state where she was born, she managed to befriend people everywhere by sharing her wit and warmth online. She graced chat rooms dating back to the early days of IRC when many of us first met in #writers, #booktalk, and #noveltalk. The format was awkward and often crashed, but Trish cheerfully logged back on— usually as trishj in lower case—and continued to dazzle us all with her charm.
She joined GEnie’s Romance and Women’s Fiction Roundtable (RomEx) in late 1993 and won us all over with her sense of humor and sweet nature. A short time after joining, she sold her first novel.
We celebrated online, of course. By then our chats had moved to a more sophisticated format, and Trish evolved with every change. She was always there to help others make the transition to new technology, and she did so with grace and humor.
In 1994, Trish joined some readers and authors to form a group called READ. We recognized a need for a group without so many rules where readers and authors could interact without having their hands smacked all the time. Trish reigned on READ. She was, without a doubt, the most popular and most loved member of a group that now has over 300 members who all miss her. She leaves a legacy with her dedication to readers and writers alike.
Her service to NINC is another example of her dedication to others. She never failed to step forward when needed, even when her health wasn’t at its best. Her loyalty and enthusiasm for NINC, her readers, her pets, and her friends persists and will never leave us.
Trish Jensen’s 14 beautiful novels live on, as does her legacy of love and laughter to bring a smile to our lips and to our hearts. And all the puppies in Heaven are getting a belly rub about now.
Joyce C. Ware
Longtime NINC member, Joyce C. Ware, 84, romance writer, died at home in Southbury, Connecticut on October 3 after a year-long illness.
A Connecticut resident, Joyce was born in Manhattan, where she enjoyed a career as a radio and stage actress from the age of three until her “retirement” at nine. At 19, she married an Air Force pilot, and when widowed two years later, moved to Connecticut and remarried.
Joyce began her writing career with articles on travel and camping for a variety of magazines, including The New York Times. Since her favorite escape was reading the gothic suspense novel, she tried writing one. That effort, The Lost Heiress of Hawkscliff, was followed by three more gothics, all published by Kensington. She also wrote three books for their To Love Again line: Homefires, Colorado High, and Come Be My Love. In a departure from the romance genre, her final book was The Dragon Whisperer, an indie published novel for Middle Grade readers.
An expert collector of oriental rugs, she also wrote the well-received Official Price Guide to Oriental Rugs.
Joyce was an intrepid world traveler, often traveling to the Middle East on rug-buying expeditions. She never let age slow her down, and when in her seventies, drove alone from Barcelona over the Pyrenees Mountains to the south of France, where she’d rented a house for a week. When she wanted to learn to dance the tango, she traveled to Buenos Aires for lessons, and she also made several trips to Patagonia to indulge her hobby of fly fishing.
She will be remembered as a classy lady of warmth and intelligence, always generous and encouraging to other writers. She is survived by a son.
NINC member Leighton Gage died July 26 at his home in Ocala, Florida. He was 71. The New York Times reported the cause of death as pancreatic cancer.
Gage, whose previous career was in advertising, was 66 when his first book, Blood of the Wicked, was published in 2008. He went on to write six more crime novels set in Brazil featuring lead character Chief Inspector Mario Silva. The most recent installment, what is now his last book, is due to be published in January 2014 under the title, The Ways of Evil Men. His books have been translated into Dutch, Finnish, French, and Italian.
Juliet Grames, Soho Press senior editor, wrote this tribute to Gage on the Soho Press website: “Leighton was a backbone of the crime fiction community as well as the Soho Crime family. A tireless author advocate with a powerful social media presence (he founded the blog Murder Is Everywhere, http://murderiseverywhere.blogspot.com/, which is devoted to international crime fiction). Leighton was a mentor and friend to many authors at various stages in their careers.”
Gage is survived by his wife, Eide, four daughters, and five grandchildren. The Soho Press tribute to Gage noted that the family had requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be directed to pancan.org, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
Marcia (Marci) Evanick
1954 – 2012
By Kasey Michaels
NINC lost a longtime member when Marci was so cruelly taken from us after a valiant year-long battle with what she called her “Unicorn ALS—because my doctors say my form of the disease exists, but nobody’s ever seen one.”
She knew what she was facing—writers will research anything—but that didn’t stop her from using one of her hospital DNR bracelets as a bookmark. She spent her last year easing the way for her family and friends, and made arrangements to donate her body to Johns Hopkins Hospital to further ALS research.
Marci wrote 42 books during her career, was honored by accolades and awards from several organizations, and reached the pinnacle, the New York Times Bestseller List.
Her contributions to NINC from 2008 to 2011, both as a conference volunteer and then two years as NINC Treasurer, changed the organization. It was Marci who first saw the need to totally revamp NINC’s financial accounting system. It was Marci who showed us how to institute changes that clarified the distribution of assets and allowed for the special one-day programs that now preface the conferences, enabled us to draw more industry guests, and made projects like The NINC Binder possible. She even found ways to feed attendees again! It was her explanation of proper bookkeeping that allowed us to enlarge the content and scope of Nink. And all while pinching every penny and staying true to NINC’s mission.
Even as her illness worsened, she remained on the Board, and assisted the incoming Treasurer, familiarizing her with the details of the job. When she could no longer hold the phone and her family had to assist her, she still refused to simply stop helping and resign, leave the job to others. “I finish what I start,” she told them.
But, sadly, there were things left undone; there simply wasn’t enough time. In order to at least partially thank her, NINC members have volunteered to finish the job Marci began last year, that of converting and uploading the remainder of her books in e-format, where they will live forever; her legacy to her fans, her husband, her five children, her six young grandchildren. For writers never die, not as long as their words can be read.
During Marci's illness, NINC members—even those who'd never met her—sent her books, silly cards, sillier little gifts, letting her know she was in our thoughts. According to her family, nearly every day's mail delivery brought her another smile, another laugh. Her children set up a corkboard at the foot of her bed, and pinned the cards and such to it, so they were always close by. Her husband, Michael, wants all of NINC to know how much your kindness cheered Marci, and all of the family, and he's overwhelmed by the offers to help assist in getting the remainder of her reverted rights titles into e-format and up online. At Marci’s memorial service, Michael asked that I thank everyone, and tell them he no longer wonders why NINC was so important to Marci.
I'd like to thank you as well. We're all a little better for having had Marci touch our lives, directly or indirectly. She remains the definition of courage, of grace-under-fire, of determination. And, oh yes, spunk! When she reluctantly gave in and took to her bed last fall, I was indulging in a pity-party about not having time to write up an idea I had. Marci matter-of-factly informed me that her own "some day" project now will never be written. "Nobody knows what's waiting around the corner for them, so damn well get off your butt, lady, and find the time to write that book!"
Or as we'd often joke, "Use the good dishes...what are you saving them for?"
Lessons for all of us, from one brave lady.
On the day of her memorial service, there was a USAToday story online carrying the headline “Possible Breakthrough in ALS Treatment.”
They must have known our Marci was coming to help …
If you wish to honor Marci, please go to any online bookstore listing her e-books, and “like” them. In this e-age you, her peers, will be lighting a candle to her memory.
Novelists, Inc., mourns the recent death of valued members:
Suzanne Simmons Guntrum
Phyllis Kelly Halldorson
Marj Krueger (aka Jayge Carr)
Martha (Marty) Sans