Yesterday an icon of the publishing industry, Ms. Kate Duffy, took flight to her heavenly home. I didn’t know Kate personally. We’ve met at conferences and workshops. She rejected a project of mine. Years later, I know she was right in her comments. I learned a lot about the industry and great writing through her workshops, where she took her Mache and slashed a part queries and first pages and her articles featured in the RWR. She was a just-give-me-the-right-word-instead-of-ten, lady. Thank you, Kate for your time. I’m sure she will be truly missed by all of those she held dear.

In honor of Kate's passing, I’m posting this blog. The body of it first appeared on my own blog several months ago, but I think it conveys a message that is important to remember.

MY HEART beats faster than a teenager who is about to be kissed for the first time. Why you ask? Life. A simple four letter word that holds meaning beyond any other. Life.

Life takes over sometimes. It gets in our way, causes our desires to be on hold and plays havoc with our goals. Life frustrates us, causes us to worry and keeps us up all night. Life can be sucky and suck our energy, leaving us drained, unable to think.

But life also brings us friends and family, laughter and love.
Deep breath. Again. Even though life spins us in circles, it’s important to remember to stop and breathe. Slow down, lighten up, chill out and enjoy what life is teaching us. The circle of life is ever evolving and when it’s your turn to step up, you need to take the wheel. Keep in mind, the job, the project, the plans can be replaced- moments in life can’t. Chill; a closing door opens another.
Life is why we exist. And it’s what makes a great story.
So today, in honor of Kate, stop for moments, breathe and take notes. Live a great scene.

A lilac scented breeze lifts my hair and softly caresses my cheek. Two golden finches chirp excitedly in unison over the birdfeeder. My husband’s warm hand covers mine and my heart beats like a teenager about to be kissed. Life.


  1. Judy // September 29, 2009 at 9:41 AM  

    Wonderful post, Autumn! Kate will be sorely missed, I'm sure. I was impressed-all right,intimidated- by her the first time I met her. But I recognized right away that she was a straight shooter and appreciated her for that. Recently she looked over a manuscript of mine and while she didn't take it, she made some good comments that I've taken to heart. Such a good editor and promoter of romance. And, you're right, at times like this, it's good to remember the joys of living and loving.

  2. Mary Marvella // September 29, 2009 at 10:00 AM  

    Ditto. Autumn and Judy. The woman caused a stir with her presence!

    Lovely words for us all to remember, Autumn.

  3. Mona Risk // September 29, 2009 at 11:50 AM  

    I met Kate Duffy several times, the first time when pitching To Love A Hero to her. I had trouble keeping my knees from shaking. But she said she loved the premise and asked me to send her a partial. Later she rejected it with a nice letter. I will never forget her advice that so improved my writing: STAY IN THE PRESENT. She'll be greatly missed.

  4. Barbara Monajem // September 29, 2009 at 1:19 PM  

    I too had a pitch appointment with Kate and really enjoyed talking with her. Thanks for a poignant post, Autumn.

  5. Username // September 29, 2009 at 2:58 PM  

    So sad about Kate. She will be sorely missed.

  6. Mary Ricksen // September 29, 2009 at 3:00 PM  

    How sad to lose such a wonderful soul. She left her mark on us all and that's what it's all about!
    Great Post!

  7. Patrice // September 29, 2009 at 5:06 PM  

    So very true. We must appreciate all that we have and hold dear, for life can be taken all too easily. Thanks for the post and for remembering Kate in this lovely way. She will be missed by everyone in the industry.

  8. Beth Trissel // September 29, 2009 at 10:09 PM  

    I love your post, Autumn. Amen.

  9. Scarlet Pumpernickel // September 30, 2009 at 12:08 AM  

    Autumn, this is my third attempt to leave a comment for your blog. I found myself at a loss for words the first two visits. You tribute was wonderful, very touching. Kate was a wonderful editor and a great friend to the Romance genre. She will be greatly missed. Now they'll have some rocking romance reading in heaven, Kate is on the job editing! Safe voyage, Kate.

  10. Joanne // October 2, 2009 at 8:57 AM  

    Thank you, Autumn, for a heart-rending post. Kate Duffy was an icon and will be sorely missed.