Author of Historical Romance

Judi McCoy

Posted by on Feb 19, 2012 in Blog, Featured, News | 43 comments

We lost her today.

That sounds funny, doesn’t it?  Like she’s misplaced or under the bed or wandering around a state park somewhere with a giant purse and a flashlight wondering how she got talked into going for a walk in the great outdoors in the middle of February.  Except it’s hard to laugh today.  Judi McCoy passed away due to complications from diabetes and… it’s hard to laugh today.

I’m running out of tissue.  I’m weeping like a fool…except when I’m not.  Except when I’m remembering the bathtub incident at RT in New York that year when she and I roomed together.  Except when I remember that voice, like nails and glass in a metal coffee can sometimes…that accent that could cut through wire…but oh, god, she was so sincere and so funny.  She was so generous to everyone.  She could drive you crazy one minute and then make you thank every angel in heaven that you had her close at hand.  She’d argue that she was “nobody” in the industry and that no one knew/cared who she was until you wanted to throttle her.  Then she’d just laugh at you and bask in all the compliments and praise… and she deserved every word of it.

I’m remembering the beginning writers she invited up to our room, an impromptu extension of the class that she just didn’t want to turn away…she was so amazing to all of them, so patient and so blazingly blunt with her advice and critiques…they fell in love with her, I think.  I know I did.  I already had, but seeing her in action–I knew she was one-of-a-kind.

When Rudy died, we cried and cried together.  She practically ruined an entire weekend event, The Chocolate Affaire, in Arizona as an entire booth of romance authors sobbed through a two day book signing because every dog that walked by set Judi off and then we’d cry because she was crying and… well, you get the picture.  We cried until it was funny that we were crying.  We cried until it was safe to tease her a little about it and then she was laughing and crying…and then it was okay.  I remember that it was okay and saying something impossible like, “Come on, Judi! He’s not gone! He’s right there, curled up at your feet and so excited about your new series coming out and so thrilled for you!  He’s there, you just can’t see him.  And he still loves you and he’s probably wondering what in the world you’re fussing about.  You made him immortal, Judi.  He’ll never be gone.  He’s not leaving you.”

So, now I’m just going to cry.  I’m going to cry until I laugh.  I’m going to cry until it’s safe to tell myself, “Come on, Renee! She’s not gone!  She’s right there with Rudy and she’s cheering you on with the books and the new series.  You just can’t see her, but she’s immortal on those pages and she’ll never be gone.  And she’d kick you under the desk if she caught you crying… or she’d make a joke about the Chocolate Affaire and turn the tables…”

I’m out of tissue.  Still crying.  But I’ll get there.  Judi wouldn’t want to be remembered in a weep-fest.  She’d want me to wrap it up with one last joke about how I seem to be the only person on the planet who ever accused her of snoring.  Swear to God, she could peel the paint off the walls…  (See, Judi?  That one was for you.  We can argue about it later.)

I love you, Judi.




Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Betty Hamilton

    What a wonderful testament to a wonderful woman.
    It was a joy to read even as it was so sad in its content.
    She was a well loved woman.

  2. Maureen O. Betita

    She was such a wonderful woman and I feel so blessed to have known her. You know Rudy welcomed her and is showing her everything that is wonderful in heaven now.

    Let’s toast to Judi in Chicago!

  3. Stacie VanEvery

    I was Judi’s roommate 2 years ago at RT. She tried to pull the same thing on me! She sure was a snorer! I will miss her dearly. She was such a good person and really wanted the best for all her aspiring students.

    I will be toasting with Maureen in Chicago. To Judi!

  4. Aleka Nakis

    I could see and hear Judi in your post. And yes, it is so sad for the one’s she left behind. However, we are lucky to have had her touch our lives. She touched many of us, too.
    She was so generous and caring, and that doesn’t get lost in any time–no, she’ll be with us in our hearts and souls.
    As for her reaction to Rudy… well, she came to my house so that we could set off on a conference, after the Chocolate Affaire, took my King Charles into her arms and didn’t let him go until we had to leave for the port. lol You see, Jack is the most empathetic dog I’ve ever known, so he slept curled up next to her, oblivious to the night’s symphony. Judi just cried into his fur.
    That was our Judi.
    I’m so grateful to have known her and had her in my life.
    It’s okay to cry. Buy more tissues or wear long sleeves. Just remember to smile, too :-)

  5. Missy Jane

    Beautifully written, thank you for sharing.

  6. Eileen Dreyer

    What you don’t realize yet, Renee, is what a great friend Judy has. I can’t think of a more eloquent send-off. It just makes me wish I’d known her like you.

  7. kate r

    thanks for a lovely tribute.

  8. Marlene Castricato

    As I told Renee in a private email, her tribute to Judi was so true to form I smiled and cried as I read it. She was a dear dear friend . What I only just realized, is that my Partner Stephanie Murray and I were those young writers at RT all those years ago in NY. We all remained very close friends and Judi was both inspirational and a sounding board as we started and developed Crescent Moon Press. By giving of herself that one night, it started a friendship that ultimately helped 60 more authors start their careers. That was Judi. Sweet~!

    • Renee Bernard

      Wow! I had no idea what had come out of that encounter and had just always wondered/hoped for the best for everyone in that room… Thank you so much, Marlene, for sharing that and of course, for your email. What an amazing turn but then…that was Judi!

  9. Jeannine

    I knew Judi thru her books and her emails and all the stories you shared of your times together. She was so special and always a friend. When I couldn’t stop crying for my Teddi and then yearning so to adopt Angel she was there… cheering me on and saying “just do it”. And with her support giving me that final boost of its OK I did it and Angel is my gift from Judi…. I will never forget what she meant and how much she added to everyone’s life… and I doubt she had a clue. Your tribute to her, Renee, was precious….tears and laughter and that was Judi.

  10. Kristen Painter

    I thought I was okay until I read your post and now I’m crying again. I can’t believe she’s gone. There won’t ever be another one like her. I miss her so much.

    • Renee Bernard

      It’s not eloquent to say, “me, too”…but me, too. I’m missing her and trying not to punish myself for the sporadic emails and time lost. It’s a lesson learned. I need to stop emulating and openly admiring people only after they’re gone. Time to take stock and make sure I’m not leaving anything unsaid.


  11. Amanda McIntyre

    A dear woman , a talented, giving writer and a magnificent dry wit- I will miss her dearly and cherish every chance we had to work together. Great tribute, Renee.

  12. Kayce Lassiter

    I will forever remember her wit and humor…what a wonderful and talented woman. She always had time for us newbies and her honest feedback was totally priceless. I will also never forget the time she came out for the Chocolate Affaire and stayed with Kayla Janz. Judy got tremendous mileage out of the story about being trapped in the upstairs bedroom by Kayla’s huge great dane, Bradley. I suspect Bradley passed first just so he could greet Judy at the gates of Heaven. Bet she was surprised! :-) She will be missed…but she’ll undoubtedly have more hysterial stories for us when we get there. Thank you for the beautiful tribute.

    • Renee Bernard

      Ah, Bradley! I immortalized him by naming a butler after him in a book after that incident with Judi–it was too funny! Poor Judi! The ultimate dog lover and he just wasn’t going to let her out of that room without the password.

      I hope he lets her in.

      I hope they’ve come to an understanding. 😉

  13. Karen Ware

    Such a beautiful testament. Judi indeed touched so many lives with her wit, her books and her love of animals. I never had the opportunity to meet this lovely lady but have learned through the months just how unique she was. She now is at peace, no suffering…and Home.

  14. Sheila English

    Judi was my go-to girl when I lost my dog, Ben. She even memorialized us in a book she wrote. We were transitory characters out walking. When she told me she did that I cried again. What a thoughtful, caring person.
    What a loss to us all.
    This was beautiful to read, Renee. I know you had a special bond with Judi. I wish I were there to give you a hug.
    Prayers to all, family and friends.

  15. Cathy Matuszak

    Thanks so much for such an eloquent tribute to a great writer and more importantly a fabulous lady. Judi was one of those people who touches your life in so many ways–whether you met her for five minutes or knew her for years. She was so honest and nurturing for aspiring authors like myslef but she was also an honest and tough critic. No BS from Judi just the truth and nothing but the truth. I cannot believe she is gone and I know she will NEVER be forgotten.

  16. Amy Heffernan

    Thank you for writing about Judi and what a wonderful person she was. I’ll never forget her and amazing workshops or advice she gave! I too am running out of tissues.

  17. Vijaya Schartz

    Thank you for making us laugh about being sad, Renee. So eloquently put. I have such wonderful memories of her at the Chocolate Affaire. Thanks for reminding us she is still there, watching…

  18. Caffey

    I never met Judi in person, but so felt I knew her from her books, her news at her site, I would have loved to meet her in person. I’m all in tears right now. I miss her so much already. As a reader, her books had me smiling and often laughing right out loud. I so will miss that and wished I took more time out to write and tell her the joy she brought me. Diabetes is a huge physical pain but too emotional one, knowing there is no cure. Its hard to go through day in and out with. She is now in a better place. She’s our angel now and brought that humor with her to heaven. Thank you Judi, miss and love you, Cathie, your reader

    • Renee Bernard

      Her readers meant more to her than almost anything and I loved the way she was always pleasantly surprised when people said they’d read her books and enjoyed them–she never took it for granted and valued each one. Thank you, Cathie! Thank you for loving her books and loving her by proxy and being so kind! You’re the kind of reader every writer dreams of having. Stay strong.

  19. Liz Calafiore

    Lovely tribute. I was so saddened by the new of her passing. I had just discovered her books. You brought her to life. Thank you.

  20. E. Ayers

    I was one of the lucky ones. I knew her. She taught me so much and she was my personal angel, my friend. Thank you for this wonderful tribute to an amazing woman who was always there for wannabe writers, other authors, and for her friends. She had a biting wit, but she’d stand up for what was right.

    I think she and Rudy are playing in the big meadow. Knowing her, she’s got quite a few other animals that needed someone to love them, and she’s adopted them all.


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  1. Judi McCoy Loses Battle with Diabetes « Beyond Her Book - [...] Friend, Renee Bernard sums up her feelings on her blog by saying:  “I’m running out of tissue.  I’m weeping …

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