In Memoriam: 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.
In Memoriam: Garda Parker
By Thea Devine
I knew the name Garda long before I met our own wonderful Garda Parker. That Garda was a fictional character, the wife of a would-be Nick Charles-ian detective, in a series of 1930's mystery novels.
My Garda was a lovely talented writer; and she could have been a heroine: she was charming, flirty, funny, sensitive, kind, pragmatic, gracious, inquisitive, and so beautiful. She always asked names. She invariably had questions. It felt like she was always on the run. Funnily, we'd never roomed together at a conference before RWA/Orlando. I found out one thing about Garda I never knew. She had the energy of a ten year old in that merciless FL heat—I was constantly dragging, she was always running.
The thing was, Garda and I could never quite remember when we met, or where, although it was probably at a Kensington event when we both wrote for Zebra (she for "To Love Again," I, then, for Lovegram). It didn't matter. It felt as if we'd known each other forever, one of those wonderful friendships that we in this writing community are so fortunate to experience.
People loved her. She had a network of friends that stretched from Colgate University to Ellenton. She seemed to know everyone. She was once walking out the door with the guest speaker at a conference we attended together—I looked askance, she pointed and mouthed, "Colgate." It almost seemed as if everyone in the world had gone to Colgate and Garda knew every last one of them.
And she loved Disney. If she could have lived at Disney World, I think she would have. In the castle. But you can understand why: it's magical, full of fairy dust, fairy tales and hope. I think she's living in the castle now.
We never saw each other often. We spoke several times a month about the stuff we all share: our lives, our families, life in general, and especially the exigencies of the writing life. She kept me sane, I probably drove her crazy. Even now, I find myself reaching for the phone, thinking, I need to call Garda. I don't know when I'll ever stop feeling that.
When we ended a conversation, she always said, "Good-bye, my friend." And now I, for the last time, must say, "Good-bye my dear, loved and treasured friend. I'll never forget you."
Novelists, Inc., mourns the recent death of valued members:
Suzanne Simmons Guntrum
Phyllis Kelly Halldorson
Marj Krueger (aka Jayge Carr)
Martha (Marty) Sans