Remembering Alan Lickiss

Our long-time friend, fan, supporter, helper—and did I mention friend?–Alan Lickiss passed away a few weeks ago after a long and arduous journey through cancer. We will miss him greatly. We already do.

When Rebecca and I moved out to Colorado more than 17 years ago, Alan and his wife Becky were among the first to welcome us and make us feel at home. (Actually, his wife also prefers to be called Rebecca, but to avoid confusion she accepted “Becky” instead, a nickname that my Rebecca hates.)  We saw Alan and Becky socially, saw them at conventions, saw them at book signings. In fact, Alan was one of the most reliable supporters ever—even on dreary, non-publicized, audience-free signings, we could always count on Alan to be there, whether it was in Denver or Colorado Springs, whether or not he already had the book. I think he sat through my same talk so many times he could mouth the words as I spoke them.

He was a writer, too, and had an absolutely brilliant idea for what I was sure would be a blockbuster novel, but he circled the idea for a long time and never quite got it down; that great story was one for Alan alone.

Whenever we had occasional movie nights and get-togethers at our castle, Alan and Becky would come, and we even had dinners at our favorite Moroccan restaurant (though Alan was not a particularly adventurous eater). He loved my Batman and Superman books, and my Dan Shamble, Zombie PI series. Alan was the one who volunteered to scan and OCR a bunch of my backlist novels when I decided to put them into eBook format, and he did the heavy-lifting when we launched a web store with hundreds of my books; he did the descriptions, found the cover images, assembled all the listings.

When he was diagnosed with stomach cancer, his health and energy level was on a roller coaster, sometimes worsening, sometimes bouncing back with a new experimental drug. We saw him in the hospital when things got really bad, and we saw him when he had recovered enough to meet us at the Barnes & Noble coffee shop—he was utterly delighted to be out of the house and among people again.

In early November he went back into the hospital  for what would be the last time. Our friends Dan and Sarah Hoyt let us know that it would be a good time to go see him again. We went into the hospital on Friday night, November 7, where we had a chance to say goodbye. Alan was aware of very little, pumped with so many drugs, but we sat with him a while and talked. As Rebecca and I left the room, we felt that would be the last we would see him. Alan died the following day.

Friends and family gathered later that week for a memorial celebration; I was out of town, but Rebecca went to share memories of our friend. We will miss you, Alan.  Thank you for all the love and support you shared over the years.