Today my third novel, CodeSpell, is coming out from Penguin’s Ace division. It’s a great day for me. It’s also a very hard one. In mid-March my grandmother, Phyllis Neese, died. She had a huge role in raising me and in my becoming a science fiction and fantasy author. She was my grandmother, she was my friend, and she was one of my biggest fans. Not having her here today to see the book hurts. She was born in 1924 and she was a grand old lady on many levels.
She was the first woman to go to the tech school where she learned to repair radio equipment. She was a single mother in an era when that was even harder than it is now. She went from a rural beginning in an era before the advent of the transistor to a computer test equipment technician. She lived through a lot of hard times, both personally and with this country but she was never bitter. She embraced change her whole life and she worked hard to stay current.
Nixon made her into a yellow dog Democrat, and she made me into one too. I know one of the things she was most looking forward to these last few years was the departure of George Bush from the White House. Unfortunately she didn’t live to see it, though she did take enormous satisfaction from the 2006 election.
She was also looking forward with great anticipation to the publication of CodeSpell and the sequel that will follow next year. She was a huge fan of science fiction and fantasy and she passed that love of genre on to my mother and the both of them passed it along to me. Some of my earliest memories are of my mother and grandmother reading the Lord of the Rings to me, or Asimov’s Foundation trilogy and I know that I wouldn’t be where I am now without that.
One of her big regrets over the last two years was not having been well enough to attend any of my readings or signings and I know she would dearly have loved to be here today and to hold the book in her hands. I’ve tried to write about how I feel about her death a couple of times but it’s hurt too much. Too be honest, it hurts too much this time too, but I refuse to let this day go by without acknowledging how much this book and all of my writing owes to her, how much I owe her.
Thank you, Grandma.
I miss you, especially today,