Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Farewell, Randy Johnson

One of Randy's avatars
Randy Johnson was quick on the review. In the early days of BEAT to a PULP I would marvel at how fast I would release a book and his thoughtful appraisal would appear. Same day and often in the first few hours. I started thinking of Randy ahead of publication—his name would be at the top of my list of individuals to send a print copy. But I found his electronic review still popping up with lightning speed on Amazon, Goodreads, etc. Turns out he wouldn’t wait for the snail mail delivery and buy the ebook. He explained in an email that he had health issues and spent a majority of his time reading. It was his pleasure to do so he told me. I’m chuckling thinking about the one time I'd inadvertently forgot him (just by about an hour or so at the most) and didn’t want him to spend his money. I hastily wrote:

I have a copy coming your way later this morning in eBook format and I'll plop one [print] in the mail.
His within seconds reply:

I appreciate the offer, David. But I purchased a copy this morning. Looks good.
So Randy became one of the core supporters that I would often send an advanced reading copy. Reviews are essential to an independent publisher and his continuing act of kindness over the last seven years will never be forgotten.

But much more than that, I treasured his random emails and occasional direct messaging on Facebook. (Often he would just say "good morning" when he saw me online.) He knew I was a fan of Longmire and would leave comments on the reviews I was doing for Criminal Element. He was the first to write and lament, "They cancelled Longmire! Damn!" And Randy appreciated my character of Gideon Miles—an African American US Marshal—that I loosely based, in part, on Bass Reeves. An early letter:

Randy Johnson here,
Don't know if you watch the Elmore Leonard series JUSTIFIED on FX. I thought about you watching tonight's episode. One of the characters asked someone if they'd "ever heard of Bass Reeves. Somebody ought to tell Denzel about him." Cheers
I'll deeply miss this friendship. He made a difference in my life and many others. R.I.P. comes to mind but doesn't seem to fit here. Randy was a metal fan and though I didn't share that particular interest I took delight in his enthusiasm for the music he loved. So instead of rest in peace--Rock on, old friend.


Cullen Gallagher said...

Lovely tribute. Thanks for sharing, David.

Charles Gramlich said...

Well said, Man. well said.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Cannot get over this. Too many this year.

Anonymous said...

this is Randy's sister. You don't know how much the family appreciates how everyone loved Randy as much as we did. His mother is 85. She's very upset(we lost our sister to breast cancer). I printed out all the comments from everyone and gave them to her. I told her that she needed to know how much Randy was cared for by everyone. She set on my couch and read through them and it seemed to give her a little peace. Thanks to everyone for your kind words.

Jean Craven

G. B. Miller said...

I did not know Mr. Johnson, but judging from the amount of grief that I've seen both in the blog world and on Facebook, he must've been one exceptional individual. My most sincerest condolences for the loss of one very unique, and what seems to me, endearing individual.

David Cranmer said...

Jean, I’m so glad your mom knows how deeply her son touched our lives. Most of us knew Randy going on a decade and had daily/weekly interaction with him. We are deeply saddened by our loss but I know that doesn’t comes close to what your family is experiencing. Please know you have a towering wall of support behind you in the days and weeks to come.

Mates said...

David, you know the pain of his family all to well. I leave my condolences to his family and to you for losing a great friend. Always loved the, "Randy Johnson Here"

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

David, this is a lovely tribute to Randy who I knew through his blog and more recently his regular and varied updates on Fb.

Charles Gramlich said...

Randy often pops into mind, particularly when I'm reading something I know he would have liked. And, of course, I still see his reviews around on the many things he read while he was with us. His supportive and kind nature just...well, not only don't they make them like him anymore, but I'm not sure they EVER made them like him. I remember that I was sitting on the couch reading when Lana, who was on facebook, said to me, "Did you know Randy Johnson died?" I remember my response, "Oh no!" as I jumped up and ran over to her. That "oh no" seems so inadequate but it continues to echo in my thoughts almost every day. I miss him.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

A great guy. I miss him a lot. My latest western from Black Horse is dedicated to his memory

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

A great guy. I miss him a lot. My latest western from Black Horse is dedicated to his memory