She passed on in February. I still think of her. Still miss her.
We were critique partners, writers who appreciated each other’s work. Though we knew each other’s real names, we connected and communicated by pen names, Anna Castle and Amber Foxx. We never met. Our friendship, though we shared other interests and agreed on some major issues, was centered on writing. Sharing your work in progress with another writer takes trust and respect. She critiqued my short story suite, Gifts and Thefts. She followed and appreciated my blog post essays. I was honored to critique Anna’s Francis Bacon mysteries, to become a beta reader when I was already a fan of the first books in the series. I love the characters, the historical depth, the wit, the originality, the settings—I could go on and on. To be able to contribute to her next work in any way, when the work was as good as hers was, meant a lot to me. I miss that partnership.
I also miss the social media interactions, the humorous exchanges, even the updates on the progress of the grass paths in her garden. I believe her fictional characters miss her, too. She told me how the Bacon series would progress, what would happen in future books. Books that will never be written. The real Francis Bacon went through difficult periods in his life which were going to make their way into the series. Perhaps the fictional Francis is spared those challenges, but Tom Clarady will never complete one of his great life goals. Perhaps in the world the characters inhabit, they carry on—and he does. Anna planned that he should.
Elizabethan healer and herbalist Jane Moone must miss her author, too. I had an inkling where the Cunning Woman series was going, and was eager to see its fulfillment. These historical paranormal cozies set in a village where magic is real are as fully researched as the Bacon books. I admit the Moriarty series didn’t hook me, simply because I’m not fond of the Victorian period, but the one story I read was as brilliantly crafted as the rest of her work. Her cozies set in Lost Hat, Texas were her only modern mysteries, and I delighted in those.
I may always miss our exchange of creativity as writers. The trust with each other’s words.
This isn’t an anniversary of anything. It’s just something I needed to say, and have needed to say since February. I was prompted by a post on the blog Pleated Stories about friends we meet online and friends we lose.
Note: Alas, Anna’s web site address seems to have been taken over by some strange, rather frantic entity in a language I don’t speak. Her Goodreads page is still there, though. If you have not yet discovered her books, I encourage you to explore. Honor her memory through her characters. They live on.