Friday, August 8, 2014

The last story


                   To our dear friend



Let me share a story, not one from a fictional world rather an all too frequent occurrence now that I
hit my sixth decade. I’ve been extremely lucky these last seven years, blessed with so many treasured events. I mean, I’ve written over twenty stories released around the world. I survived a battle with the devil himself appearing in the form of cancer. We were graced with an angel named Emma (my first and last grandchild.) And let’s not forget the family of buds and budettes I’ve come to care for in my writing circle.

Over sixty years, I’ve adapted to the reality that the highs of life cannot exist without the lows. You know, the cliches we’re not allowed to use as authors, good with the bad, rain with the sunshine, darkness follows the light. Guess in the grand scheme, it’s a ying and yang thing, yet I never grow accustom to the shadowy sentiments associated with losing that mental and emotional bond from a special friend. We in the TWV family lost another member of our circle July 11th. One that never ceased to sprinkle joy everywhere she walked, an angel named Martha Krieger (aka, Allison Knight), or as I called her, Rep G.

Now for the story, only in this one I could not rewrite the ending, thought I tried, hard. See, six months ago Martha confined she’d been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Like many in that growing group, she feared not the departure from this world, rather those she’d leave behind: her family, her husband, her friends, and the unborn creation, dare say her intellectual child that floated in her writer’s mind for some time. Like many authors, we’re a weird entanglement, a set of wandering thinkers that spend much of our private moments in a pondered world of make believe heroes, heroines, scenes and fictional surroundings. Only to us, because these virtual characters burgeon from our secret garden, they become real, offspring that spout from our own creativity.

With all the events she had to order in her dwindling life, a central focus became the urgency to bring forth her last child, the final opportunity to share her thoughts with those that enveloped her style, her rhythm, the wonder of her unique voice. Fortunately, she left no loose ends in her writing career. That dream she’d toiled over became a reality just before she passed (thanks to the diligent efforts of her publisher), and Lovesong, the final episode in her Love series, was released in July. But this child was not an orphan, rather one of many accomplishments in Martha’s career. Here’s a sample of the team effort between Rep G and her private muse:

A Matter Of Passion
A Treasure For Sara
Heal My Hurting Heart
Betrayed Bride
Lynbrook’s Lady
Roses For My Lady

Truly a remarkable list of creations from a talented lady. Now for a personal note, a reflection of the insane pool we authors swim in on occasion. As the time grew near, Martha stayed in touch, providing an update of her dwindling light, the trailing moments as she struggled to bring forth her final creation. The last story she’d every write in this realm. As she shared more and more, I felt my mind play a child’s game, a belief that this was but another fiction, a scene I could rewrote so our friend and comrade would not leave us behind. Yeah, weird I know. Still, I pretended Rep G was spinning another joke, a fable, like the many she’d forwarded since we first became friends. In the near future she’d dash off an email, “I was just joking.” Or Maybe, “The tumors are vanishing and they don’t know why.” You know, like we authors often do, rewrite a distasteful ending, one that cuts too close to our heart strings. As I said, that’s a child’s game, not the real world and as we all know, sometimes reality bites.

As often happens when a mate of five plus decades departs, her husband Hank joined Martha the very next week. You can sample her talent at and by all means, if you ever read her last story, imagine a busy little lady with cropped hair and a beaming smile feverishly banging away at the keyboard to bring her final creation to light before she spouted wings and waited by the gate for us all. We will miss you, Rep G.

Oh yeah. I'm not a Cat person, at all, but she was, big time. So I bit the bullet and included an image of her favorite fur ball, Wally. Just for you Rep G. To all our TWV and CBG friends, please share your last thoughts on a remarkable friend, a terrific writer, our angel, Martha.

Michael Davis


Liz Flaherty said...

I was reading her "Journey" on her blog and when it ended so abruptly, I figured she had gotten too sick to write. Thank you for letting us know how the journey ended for both Allison (the only name I knew her by) and her husband. I know she worried about him--it's good to know they weren't apart for long.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I told my wife when she passed I didn't expect him to last long. Without reason to hold on for someone or something, most give up.


Rita Bay said...

I had the pleasure of knowing Martha personally. We were members of the same RWA chapter for many years. Martha was a tireless worker and supported all the members of the chapter. She shared her vast store of knowledge and experience with chapter members and online. She gave me the push I needed to finally submit to a publisher (Champagne) Hank was always at her side, helping with PR and taking pictures. They were a pleasure to see together. I will miss them both.
Thank you, Mike, for sharing your memories of Martha. Rita

linda_rettstatt said...

I only knew Martha as a fellow author and via online communication. I knew her to be a generous, encouraging and loving presence. She was a skilled story-teller who loved the craft of writing and it showed. She will certainly be missed by colleagues and readers alike. This is wonderful tribute, Mike. Thank you.

Veronica Helen Hart said...

A beautiful tribute, Mike.

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Knowing Martha, only briefly, was still a treasure. She never lost her belief in the happy ending. Her own marriage reflected that. I am glad her husband joined her so soon. Tough on the children, but they were truly “one”.

She mentioned about six months ago they spent their evenings in comfy lounge chairs reading and listening to music, in their own home, together. A loving image we can always remember; they made their own happy ending.

Kat Hall said...

Martha was a great writer but a wonderful angel in the real world. We discussed our hubbies and their health problems and even our own, were there for each other during some rough times. She had great advise for new authors and always helped out any author in whatever way she could. She was a ray of sunshine and we miss her dearly. She gained her wings and is free of all the pain now. RIP Martha.

Liz Fountain said...

A beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady. When inner and outer beauty and talent coincide, we all take notice. I know Martha mostly from how those closer to her speak of her. And they all say the same: an angel.

Let us all make sure our creative "children" get a chance to be born and thrive, in honor of her work those last few months.

BM, thank you (and others) for being such good friends to such a necessary person.


Anonymous said...

Thanks all, and yes, my wife and I try to shoot for together time each day to ponder what we have together now and the journey we've taken these last fifty years together.

I truly do miss Rep G and find myself thinking about what a great person she was each day. Lord getting old is so rough as so many good people in your life start to transition to the other side.


Olga Godim said...

Wonderful tribute, Mike. It's always sad when someone dies, but when an author dies, it's doubly sad, I think: all the stories she hasn't yet told die with her.

Unknown said...

Thanks Mike, for writing this lovely tribute. Though didn't know Martha personally, online she was always helpful and very generous with her time and encouragement. She will be missed.

Victoria Roder said...

Wonderful job, Big Mike. I always found Martha supportive and helpful to us fellow authors.

Champagne Book Group said...

Thank you, Mike. Martha was a wonderful author, and a good friend. I'll miss not receiving her upbeat emails, her cheering new authors on, her stories about whatever latest thing made her laugh. Hank used to send email me updates when she wasn't able, and sent the best jokes.
We've lost a few authors over the years, but none that have made me as teary as Martha's loss.

I'll miss both her and Hank very much.


Anonymous said...

Like I said E, can't shake the feeling she's still out there in the mist, just beyond our touch, coming up with some more funny jokes. Boy did she love political humor.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)