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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Tribute to Tom Grundner (Rest in Peace)

When I first arrived in Arizona, I had been searching for a "real" job for about two years. I knew that I wanted to get into publishing, that I needed to get a start on my childhood dream of having my own publishing company. I admit that Arizona seemed an unlikely place to accomplish this, but luck seemed to be on my side when I met Tom Grundner, founder of Fireship Press, at a writers' function during the first month I was here. I had an unusually strong feeling that he was a person I ought to get to know better, and -- this is a really big deal for me -- I punched through the barriers of my shyness and queried whether he would like any help with Fireship.

Tom has had a direct, strong influence on every one of my days in Arizona since. He quickly gained confidence in me, and after he bore witness to my editorial skills and we had a truly heart-to-heart conversation, he agreed to supply me the startup costs for my own Açedrex Publishing as well as the training I needed in the technical aspects. What an astounding gesture! I'm still speechless when I think of it.

My husband and I came to this state penniless, unwilling, and we were pretty unhappy, but because I met Tom, I can never say that my time in Arizona has been a washout.

I didn't know Tom for very long. I can't really speak about the facts of his life, but I know that he continues to be dearly loved by his family and friends and that he is a kind and true soul. I considered him to be my guardian angel in Arizona. We're trying to sort out how to continue Fireship as a noble legacy, and I hope we do. I know that any future success I have in publishing will owe a profound debt to a writer, a savvy businessman, and a friend.

See a thorough recounting of Tom's life at Historic Naval Fiction.