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David Thompson; An Inspiration

Next Sunday there will be A Celebration of Life. There’s a fund in lieu of flowers. If you can contribute, do.

Last Monday Busted Flush Publisher David Thompson died unexpectedly at the age of 38. He left behind an adoring and adored wife, McKenna Jordan. He left behind a mother and siblings and a mother-in-law. He left behind the staff of Murder by the Books.

The list only begins there. There are hundreds of mourners who knew him and loved him. People who’d known him decades and people who’d met him just once. David was one of those rare people it was impossible not to love. His zest for life; his love of movies, books, music and baseball gave him common ground with everyone. His knowledge gave him the ability to capture you in conversation and inspire your own imagination. David was truly one of a kind.

While David the human being will be mourned by everyone who knew him, David Thompson of Houston TX. will be missed by everyone who reads, whether they are aware of it or not. David Thompson had the ability to inspire writers to be better, readers to articulate what they loved about an author or a series and publishers to get excited about a book they’d all but written off. A little nudge from David has created thousands, perhaps millions of conversations he wasn’t even a part of. In this age where potential and actual book sales are achieved virally, Mr. Thompson was anthrax and he used every delivery system available.

An employee of Murder By the Books for over twenty years, David put the books into the readers hands. He married reader to book with an uncanny ability. With gentle parental consultation David moved the juvenile reader into the world of adult books, no mean feat in these days of electronic apparatus.

As a publisher David brought some of today’s brightest talent together to write in the Anthology format. He provided readers with a little taste, just enough to hook them. You couldn’t help but pay attention to Busted Flush Press. He wasn’t done with you yet though. David published a variety of titles that had gone out of print. Books he knew deserved an audience. Books that have indeed found an audience.

He talked to New York; a lot. Gave them first feedback on upcoming titles and then months later, customer feedback. He backed his enthusiasm with sales (All authors who sold more copies of a title at Murder By the Book raise you hands here). His memory for every book he read was photographic, the nuances and the flow of the words never leaving him.

He tweeted and f.b.ed and posted on websites. He sent notes via e-mail if he found a book you needed to read or read your book and enjoyed it. He picked up the phone with congratulations and encouragement a dozen times a day.

A new chapter was just beginning for David. He was looking forward to a Busted Flush partnership with Tyrus Books. Two strong and viable small presses banding together to become stronger. He was getting ready to chair a Bouchercon. And he was getting ready for today.

Sundays were his alone time with McKenna. They shut off phones and computers, played with the dogs and the cat, read and watched DVDs. Sundays were David’s favorite day. Above all else in life David Thompson found his perfect partner and it brought him a joy that you could see.

David Thompson was my friend, an inspiration, an energy source. He made me a better person and I’ll try to be better still because I had him in my world.

The last thing I ever said to David in person was directed towards both he and McKenna. They were getting ready to head for the airport and home and we were in front of the Renaissance in St. Louis. I told them both, “I’m so glad we had this time, just us.” I’ve thought of those words often over this past week. I’ve thought of the many moments in that trip. I’m very glad I had that time together. I wish there was more….