Charles L. Grant--Charlie--died shortly after 10:00 p.m. Friday evening. While my recent contact with Charlie had been sporadic at best--mostly messages sent back and forth via his wife, Kathy Ptacek--Charlie was instrumental in the early part of my writing career. A young author with a handful of short stories to his credit when I "met" him, he ultimately published a bazillion novels in a variety of genres under numerous pseudonyms. He was probably best known for the quiet horror he published under his own name.
When we "met," I was a teenaged science fiction fan publishing a fanzine. We "met" after I sent Charlie a copy of my fanzine containing an article someone else had written about him. We began corresponding the old-fashioned way, sending typewritten letters via the postal service. Charlie wrote a column for my fanzine, and he once interviewed one of his pseudonyms as an inside joke.
In addition to writing, Charlie also edited many horror anthologies, and he published one of my first short stories in 1985. ("Of Memories Dying" was my 15th published short story, my first to appear in an anthology.)
More importantly, though, Charlie was one of the people who taught me how to be a writer. He treated me with professionalism and respect, he treated my fanzine as if it were a professional magazine, and he lived the life that I wanted to live.
Writers often talk about the idea of "paying forward," of helping new writers, but Charlie actually did it. He helped me. For that I am eternally grateful.