Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘SF/F writers

Writer Ric Locke Has Died

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Folks, this news stuns me.  But here goes: writer Ric Locke, who was a very good friend of my husband Michael, has died. 

Now, why should you care about this?  Simple.  Ric Locke was a very, very good writer — and he also was an extremely close friend of my late husband Michael.  Ric’s self-published novel, TEMPORARY DUTY, is a particularly good novel of military science fiction and adventure, and was one of the last novels that Michael edited.

Now as to the particulars of Ric Locke’s passing: he was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer around Father’s Day, but had been given up to a year to live.  However, Ric had apparently been having money problems; he couldn’t get the needed medical equipment to help him (oxygen tanks and the means to carry them around).  Worse yet, the Social Security Administration was after him because supposedly Locke had “earned too much money” from TEMPORARY DUTY to qualify for help (this last according to writer Tom Kratman).

Ric’s last blog post, made only a few, short days ago, said that he wasn’t doing well, and that the sequel to TEMPORARY DUTY was unlikely to be able to be completed.  Because of this, he apologized to those who’d donated in efforts to help him complete his second novel, and he asked for forgiveness.  (Which of course he didn’t need to do, but that was Ric; he was conscientious to a fault.)

Ric was a very good man, someone who’d do anything he could to help if he was able . . . he was an excellent writer, a gifted conversationalist, and someone whose loyalty was bone-deep.  I know this because of two things — how he thanked Michael years after the fact for editing his novel in a written foreward (something Ric didn’t have to do as Michael was long-dead by the time TEMPORARY DUTY got into print), and because I got a chance to meet up with Ric when he took Michael and me out for dinner back in 2004.  We had a riotous writer’s conversation, full of wide-ranging chatter, puns (my husband loved puns, and Ric was no slouch in that department, either), and more than a few alcoholic beverages.  (None for me; I was the designated driver.) 

It was a night to remember.  And it’s something I’m doing my best to recall, because I believe it’s important to remember those you’ve lost the way they actually were when they were brightly alive.  (It’s tough to do.  But ultimately, it helps a little bit.  Nothing helps that much when someone you really care about it is gone from this plane of existence, and I’d be a fool if I said anything else.)

Ric Locke died at 1:36 PM on July 24, 2012.  Funeral arrangements are pending, but according to his son, James (who made a comment at Ric’s blog to this effect), his memorial service will be held in Mineral Wells, TX — Ric’s hometown.**

You may have noticed that I haven’t given an age for Ric — that’s because I’m unsure what it actually was, except “older than me or Michael.”  (My best guess is that Ric was in his early sixties, but I may be wrong.)  But age is irrelevant; what matters is what you did on this Earth, and the people you got a chance to meet while you were here.

Ric Locke did a great deal, met many interesting people, and wrote a fantastic book of military SF that you owe it to yourself to read.   He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

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**Those of you who read this blog who wish to go to Ric’s funeral need to get a hold of his son, James; he has a Facebook presence, but if you can’t find him, let me know and I’ll be glad to help if I possibly can.

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 27, 2012 at 12:41 am

SF&F Writer K.D. Wentworth Dies at 61

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Folks, I feel terrible that I missed the initial announcement, but here it is: on April 18, 2012, Kathy Wentworth (known as K.D. Wentworth in SF&F fandom) passed away due to complications from cervical cancer.  She was 61 years old.  (Please see more here.)

I met Wentworth in 2005 at ConQuesT in Kansas City; she kindly signed a copy of THE COURSE OF EMPIRE, the first book she co-wrote with Eric Flint, for me that day.  (If you haven’t read it, THE COURSE OF EMPIRE is one of the best SF books of the past ten years; you really should get this book and read it, again and again.)   I still have that book and read it frequently. 

Wentworth also was a long-time judge for the Writers of the Future contest (that I didn’t receive this news from them is truly puzzling, as I’m still on their list due to my past submissions to the contest),  wrote over 50 short stories and several novels, including (but not limited to) BLACK ON BLACK, STARS OVER STARS, THE COURSE OF EMPIRE, and its sequel, THE CRUCIBLE OF EMPIRE (the latter two with Flint), and was active in the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA).

Wentworth was a kind person who knew a great deal about writing, editing, and publishing, and was willing to talk with a complete unknown (like me) at length without any visible sign of strain.  She also was an excellent writer whose stories (especially the two EMPIRE novels with Flint) should live forever.

The best tribute to a writer is this: go read her work.  Then go buy her work.  Then go  and recommend it to everyone you know (providing you like it half as much as I do, that is).   So please — for K.D. Wentworth — do what you can to keep her work, and her words, alive.

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 24, 2012 at 11:35 pm