Sunday, September 4, 2011

Editorial September 2011 e-issue #27

Compiled by Lisa Morton, Bill Breedlove, various members of Horror Writers Association
and Nickolas Cook
The Black Glove Magazine

In Memoriam

Mark Worthen

As some folks may already know, Mark Worthen passed away on 19 September, 2011. He suffered a seizure at work and died shortly thereafter.

Mark was many things to many people—he was a horror writer, an editor (DESOLATE SOULS, with J.P. Edwards) and, perhaps most importantly, a devoted husband to his wonderful wife Jeannie.

He had a “day job”—Mark often jokingly referred to himself as “cubicle denizen” and a very active life with writing, editing, reviewing as well as myriad responsibilities serving as the Webmaster for the Horror Writers Association.

HWA Treasurer, and also a friend of Mark’s (and BLACK GLOVE contributor), Lisa Morton wrote a very eloquent obituary here:, which also has links to Mark’s website and blog. On those, links, also provided below, you will find various FREE examples of his fiction and his thoughts on all things, great and small, in his life and the industry:

Official Live Journal Blog-- Official Website “The Renaissance Mind: The Omnidirectional Madness of Mark Worthen—

I have known Mark and Jeannie for several years, and two finer people you could never hope to meet. Mark was one of those individuals who consistently went out of his way to offer help and assistance to anyone and everyone he encountered. His love for great writing of any kind was obvious, as was his deep affection for the horror field in general.

Over time, I had the pleasure of corresponding with Mark quite a bit, and the honor of serving as a sounding board for some of his early drafts of various works. He was committed to his craft, extremely knowledgeable about the field and an excellent interlocutor on many subjects. Email exchanges that began on one topic could go very far afield, but were never less than interesting and entertaining.

His multiple talents, his affinity for fellow writers and his overall kindness will be greatly missed.

--Bill Breedlove

Nickolas Cook: When I heard of Mark's death, it stunned me. I sent out a call on my FaceBook page, offering to add anyone else's comments about him to what Bill had written above. To my utter dismay, on a social page where if you post that you stubbed your toe, you will almost instantly get 20 comments about how sorry someone is to hear that, another how it happened to another person, too, maybe another five or six stubbed toe stories...but what I did not get for over 24 hours was one single comment from around 800 "friends", easily 75% of which are horror related personalities about Mark's surprising sudden passing. I expressed my disgust and dismay in a mass email to my fellow BLACK GLOVE writers. Lisa Morton, being the kind and generous person she is, offered to also post the same offer to her own FaceBook page.

Well, needless to say, by the number of replies which she was able to capture below, you can see Mark was remembered, and fondly. It also happened to restore my belief in our community, which, to be truthful, folks, has as of late become pretty low for my own personal reasons.

So to all of you who found the time to comment and allow us to post your comments about Mark here as part of this small, but heartfelt, memorial for one of our own fallen Horrorheadsm, we thank you. I thank you.

But not only was Lisa Morton kind enough to forward all the comments she got on her page, she also allowed us to post the below obituary she wrote for Mark. So our supreme and loving thanks go to her, as well:

"As most of you probably know by now, HWA’s Webmaster Mark Worthen passed away on September 19, 2011. Mark suffered a seizure while at work and died shortly thereafter.

Mark was an integral part of HWA, and a list of all of the duties he performed for us on a daily basis would take up the entire page. He assigned user IDs and passwords, he kept the Web site current and clean, he moderated the message board, he compiled Bram Stoker Award recommendations, he wrote two monthly columns for the newsletter, and he did a lot of those behind-the-scenes things that you all thankfully never hear about, like resolving issues with our databases and domain host.

But Mark wasn’t just some cyber-janitor sweeping up around HWA’s Web presence. It was rare that Mark just answered a question; he usually answered it with good humor and maybe even advice.

In my capacity as HWA’s Treasurer, I had the pleasure of working closely with Mark since he took over as HWA’s Webmaster in 2007. We exchanged hundreds, maybe thousands of E-mails. We developed a friendship that spilled over into spending time together (along with Mark’s delightful wife Jeannie) whenever we were in the same physical location. Mark was known throughout the horror community as a generous, warm-hearted guy, always ready with words of support or suggestion.

He was also a fine writer, who I have no doubt would have continued to grow a following. His short fiction received “Honorable Mentions” in Ellen Datlow’s Year’s Best anthologies, and last year he garnered his first Bram Stoker Award nomination, for the story “Final Draft” (from Horror Library Volume IV). Mark was also a prolific reviewer (for ), and he co-edited (with J.P. Edwards) the acclaimed anthology Desolate Souls.

Mark was also an expert linguist who had lived in Peru and Korea. By day he was employed by Lincoln University, and lived in Missouri.

Mark is survived by his wife, Jeannie, and by his children. HWA wishes to extend its deepest sympathies to Jeannie and Mark’s family. Mark was part of HWA’s glue, and we’re going to miss him terribly."

And here are some those other outpourings of love and mourning for the loss of one of our own, from many HWA members, comments we collected to add to this memorial to Mark:

Jonathan Maberry commented: "Mark was a totally standup guy. Smart, funny and reliable. Definitely one of the good guys."

Donna K. Fitch wrote: "Mark and I got to know each other through HWA, when I was database administrator and he was web administrator. He was so helpful and friendly, and we shared a love of roleplaying games and Star Trek. I was so happy to finally meet him and Jeannie at the Stoker Awards in Berkeley. He was a warm and wonderful guy, and an inventive and powerful writer. It's hard to believe I won't get an email from him anymore."

“Mark Worthen was part of the backbone of the Horror Writers Association and I believe he truly loved it. We were in contact most every day of my presidency as he sought to deliver on the many things we needed from him and his teams in his dual roles as Webmaster and Stoker Co-Chair/Compiler. Two more important functions can hardly be imagined--in this day and age the HWA succeeds day to day via our Web site and its component services; and the Bram Stoker Awards are the most visible of our functions to the genre and the wide public.

For his work with the Web team Mark deservedly received the Richard Laymon President's Award for Service for 2007. Of course, Mark had a successful writing career and received a Bram Stoker nomination last year. We mourn his loss as a friend, a servant of HWA, and as a writer. The HWA Board is working to support Mark’s wife, Jeanne Eddy, at this difficult time. We will honor Mark’s memory by building on his great work on the Web site and the Bram Stoker Awards.”

Rocky Wood
President, Horror Writers Association

James E. Gurley wrote: "Mark and Jennie helped me many times with pitch sessions at conventions or we just sat around and shot the bull. I'll miss him."

Charles Day wrote: "I never had the chance to know him, but from everything I read, I could tell he was a wonderful man, who touched so many people in his life. My prayers are with his family."

Harry Shannon wrote: "Mark and I corresponded often, though we never met face to face. He seemed like a tremendously nice guy, intelligent and warm. He will clearly be missed."

Tracy DeVore wrote: "Mark and I had corresponded online regularly regarding HWA and writing in general, and I had the opportunity to get to know him better at the WHC/Stoker banquet in Salt Lake City, UT in 2008. He was a wonderful person, very friendly and helpful and encouraging. He will be missed."

Monica O'Rourke wrote: "Mark and I became friends when we worked together on the HWA Stoker committee. He was one of the kindest, warmest people I have ever met. He never had a disparaging word for anyone. I doubt I will ever know a gentler soul. My heart goes out to Jeannie and the rest of his family. He will be missed.”

Maria Alexander wrote: "Mark was always a caring colleague, endlessly supportive and effortless to work with on everything from HWA business to Blood Rose Magazine. He will be badly missed in many ways."

Gene O'Neill wrote: "No question Mark was an asset for HWA, but even more so as a friend. I'll miss him."

John R. Little wrote: "During my term as HWA Administrator, there was rarely a day that I didn't exchange emails with Mark. He ended up being a very close friend, and I miss him a great deal."

Brad C. Hodson wrote: "Mark was always the most kind, patient, funny guy when we'd have to write back and forth trying to solve some kind of issue. He had this wonderful attitude of "live life, don't stress about it."

Nancy Holder wrote: "Mark never, ever, EVER lost patience when I would email him about my password. What a kind, talented, gentle soul."

Michael Louis Calvillo wrote: "Mark was a great guy. We exchanged a number of emails about our hopes and dreams and our shared aspirations of becoming writers (though we both already were). I'm gonna miss his friendship, he really was one of the good guys. My love and prayers (and Pepsi and chocolate) to Jeanie (forgive the misspelling).
Sincerest warmth, Michael."

“I exchanged no more than three, maybe four emails with Mark over the last six months. He was warm and funny and went out of his way to welcome me to HWA and make me feel a part of the organization. I can't imagine how much he will be missed by those who knew him well. I'm just sorry I didn't get the chance to know him better. My deepest condolences to his family and close friends.
-Teresa Frohock

STOKER WINNERS 2008 (Mark's first on the left, top row)

The horror community has lost one of its own. We here at THE BLACK GLOVE MAGAZINE express our deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones. With all the words posted above from so many different individuals, it is obvious Mark was a friend, an inspiration, a consummate professional, a caring member within the HWA and a talented craftsman.
He will be missed.
In a community as small as ours, we cannot afford to lose even one, especially one as special as Mark.
Let’s all remember in the future, when we get aggravated with one of our peers, that we're a family, one built on creation and the power of imagination, and, strangely enough, given our chosen collective subject matter with which we create, we 're also a surprisingly humorous and life-affirming people.
We love one another.
We care for each other.
And we feel the pain of our fellowman/woman.
Writing horror, means also understanding the ultimate power of love and redemption, forgiveness and faith in the light at the end of the tunnel.
Because there has to be a light, people. Because this is one fucking dark tunnel we all travel together. Pick up a newspaper, watch the nightly news, read an online news spot. It is dark, dark, dark...
So let’s remember our extended family in our hopes and prayers each day. Because, folks, we are all in this together.
And to quote a man who probably would've fit in quite well with us, “No one here gets out alive…”

(My thanks goes out to all of you who took the time to comment, especially Bill and Lisa, who made sure that Mark's friends and loved ones will know how much we will miss him and how much he was loved and appreciated.)

--Nickolas Cook
The Black Glove Magazine