Many years ago, a writer named Ed Gorman and I had the same editor at Ballantine, Chris Cox. Ed and his wife lived in Iowa. Rob and I lived in Florida. But at some point during a trip to Minnesota, Rob and I drove south to Cedar Rapids and had lunch with Ed and Carol.
At the time, I didn’t realize how momentous this was. I didn’t realize that Ed and Carol would become one of the handful of writing couples that we know. And I didn’t realize just how reclusive Ed is. But I loved them both immediately and over the years, Ed and I have kept in sporadic touch.
For a long time, Ed edited Mystery Scene Magazine. He worked with book packager Marty Greenburg and employed a lot of writers for short stories, articles, ghostwriting projects. Ed was an underground railroad, rescuing writers who were floundering, in need of projects, writers struggling to adjust to the rapidly changing publishing landscape.
Back in the early 1990s, when I realized I needed to change agents, I went to Ed first. He recommended Al Zuckerman at Writers’ House, whom I have now been with for 22 years. In 2011, Ed told me about Crossroad Press, a small publishing house that was specializing in writers with large out of print backlists and thought it might be something that would interest Rob and me. He was right.
David Wilson and David Dodd, the two main players at Crossroad, are terrific people and they offer writers a deal that far surpasses traditional publishers in terms of royalty splits and, unlike a lot of these outfits, there’s no cost to the author for the upfront costs.
So the other day I emailed Ed, just checking in to see how he was doing. He’d had a stem cell transplant several years ago, seemed to be on a rise. He had grandkids, books were selling, life was good. Then two days passed and I didn’t hear back from him, and I felt uneasy about it. I wrote to his wife, Carol, on Facebook, and learned that Ed was in his 7th week of home hospice.
My heart broke.
Writers are a tribe. It doesn’t matter if you’re traditionally published, an Indie author, or if you’re published by an alien company on Mars. The point is always the story, the information, the thing that moves you to put it into words. The point is how you treat the people who are members of your tribe. And Ed…he has always been one of the most generous member of that tribe. I don’t know that I would have a writing career if it weren’t for him.
So please, whatever your spiritual beliefs, include Ed in your thoughts. Google him. His books are wonderful, but more than that, he is a stellar human being.