Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Tribute to Jane Toombs by Marion Ekholm

 

A dear friend and mentor, Jane Toombs, died this March. I met her when I attended my first romance writers conference back in 1984. At the time I had submitted my romance novels to  publishers in New York City and received a notice (possibly from someone at the publishers) about an upcoming writers conference held in Tarrytown, New York, about thirty miles from my home in New Jersey. I’d never heard of the organization, but I attended it, met Jane and Ruby Frankel and a group of writers interested in writing romances. Hudson Valley Romance Writers of America came out of that original meeting.   

Over the years, Jane helped me in many areas of writing. She encouraged me to do the chapter’s newsletter, something very beneficial because I learned to deal with deadlines, edit and reduce the written word as well as adding words where needed. She patiently went through my first chapters and gave me advice on how they could be improved. I attended my first national RWA conference in Minneapolis with Jane and Ruby, and during the following years, often had them for roommates.

Editors required Jane to use pseudonyms because they believed her name Toombs would not draw romance readers. She wrote as Olivia Sumner, Diana Stuart, Lee David Willoughby, Rebecca Drury, Jane Anderson and Ellen Jamison. She was prolific in numerous genres besides contemporary and historical romance, including paranormal and horror. An early believer in the expanding market of e-books, Jane remained a pioneer in bringing her books to that medium. In 2007, she was featured in Romance Today: An A – to – Z Guide to Contemporary American Romance Writers.  

Jane, always a delight, will be greatly missed.


15 comments:

  1. Hi, Marion. I'm sorry for your loss. How lucky you were to have had such a good and savvy friend. Would be nice to channel her comprehension of all those genres and what they want. She must have had a very organized brain. So you can go ahead with all that friendship and caring tucked inside you. That's wonderful.

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    1. Jane was totally organized and so helpful.

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  2. Marion, what a long a wonderful career Jane had. It's always difficult to lose a friend.
    Looking back, I wonder if you and I might've met at that Minneapolis conference. It was the first one I attended. We could have been newbies together and didn't know it. Isn't it wonderful how the paths of writers meet and cross?

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    1. Amazing. I remember talking to so many authors there. Maybe we did meet!

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  3. I'm sorry to hear that. I always loved to read her posts on different lists. She has a great common-sense way of looking at things.

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    1. For a very down to earth person, she had a great imagination in her writing.

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  4. I remember her from when she wrote for Silhouette Shadows, a line I loved and is somewhat similar to Nocturne today.

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  5. Thank you for this post, Marion.

    I did not know Jane, yet I am saddened to read of her passing. I echo some of the above sentiments about how wonderful it is that you shared such a warm and positive relationship for so many years.

    Please accept my condolences.

    Kate

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    1. Thank you. We've lived so far apart over the past 20 years so I only got to see her at national RWA conferences.

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  6. I just found out about Jane's passing this weekend. I met her many years ago at a writer's conference. She was so warm, sincere, and friendly. I was in awe...I couldn't believe this multi-published author was having a conversation with little ole' me. Her contributions as an author, and her beautiful personality will be missed.

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    1. I didn't know you had known her. She was always so friendly and encouraging to anyone starting out writing romances.

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  7. What a lovely tribute. Jane sounds like a wonderful friend and mentor. I know you will miss her.

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  8. I'm so sorry to hear about Jane, Marion. It sounds like you were blessed to know her. What a beautiful tribute.

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