Tonight I learned J.A. Pitts, author of Black Blade Blues among lots of other things, passed away a few days ago.
He was one of the first pro writers I made friends with. We met as the guest pros for a Cascade Writers workshop. John was such a good man–I don’t mean that in the sense of “nice to you when you’re around,” but in the way that you feel better just knowing they’re part of your world. So often, you wonder who the good guys are and who just does enough to get by. I never wondered that with John. He knew bullshit when he saw it, called it what it was, expected people to be decent rather than just hoping. It was good to have an adult in the room.
We didn’t hang out all that much except for at cons and occasional chat online, but he was supportive of my work, engaged and gave great feedback. It meant a lot to hear that about Good Intentions, because.. well, let’s face it, those books are goofy and silly and it meant a lot to have a pro writer and a straightforward good guy be so supportive of those books. He was a big supporter for a lot of other writers in the area, too. It was always such a comfort having him around at writer events. Those can get tough or exhausting even if they’re going well, but if John was there it was always a little easier.
We did lots of panels together at cons. I’d go see him when he spoke. Hung out with him for lunch if we ran into each other at an event.
I only look at Facebook once a week or so. This slipped right past me, and it shot past on Twitter, too. I didn’t even know he was sick.
It hasn’t really sunk in for me yet.
I’m gonna miss you a lot, John.