"Sorry to have to report the news that Janet Kagan died today of acute Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). She was on hospice care toward the end, but ending came fairly quickly."
I'm actually crying as I write this. I first found Janet as an author, when I read Uhura's Song years ago. I tracked down Hellspark and Mirabile, her other two books, as well as some of her award-winning short fiction.
But it wasn't until I started trying to break in as an author that I got to know her as a person. She was one of the first real authors to offer advice and support. She was also one of the warmest, kindest people I know in this business.
One of the things she did was to offer a personalized, hand-made card to anyone who would donate blood. She was a small woman, and the Red Cross wouldn't donate, so this was her way of supporting them. My mother (a regular donor) got in touch with her, and asked if she could send a card to me instead. I still have it.
Of course, this led to Janet and my mother becoming friends. When I sneakily arranged to have Janet send mom a signed copy of Hellspark for her birthday, Janet threw in a hardcover first edition of Uhura's Song as well. That's just who she was.
She wrote one of the most enthusiastic blurbs for Goblin Quest, back when I was still basically a nobody with Five Star. Later on, I invited her to write a story for Heroes in Training, but she was already struggling with health problems at that point.
She was an excellent writer, and an even better human being, and I'll miss her.