Late in the evening on October 5, I took a break from editing and, like I always do, logged onto Facebook. Typically, Friday night banter would consist of pictures of people dinning out and post about good times or that side hustle so many of us have. Unfortunately, the very first post I saw was from author Rhonda McKnight who ended a post with “I am so heartbroken.” She didn’t mention a name but somehow I knew it was about everybody’s favorite literary publicist Dee Stewart (@deegospel), who writes under the pen name Miranda Parker.
My heart ached, too. I am one of the countless people who had an online relationship with Dee—we never met in person. As publicists, we often crossed paths during #solopr twitter chats or other places on the web where communications tactics are discussed. As writers and literary enthusiasts, we spent time online in various groups. As a mentor, she, along with Shelia Goss, helped a group of us pull together the synopses, query letters, and arcs for our novels in a writing workshop just before 2011s NaNoWriMo. Two of our members have had chapters requested by a major publisher. As friends, we all gathered around our computers and logged into Facebook on Wednesday nights for The Shemar Show Viewing Party to watch Criminal Minds. Nothing will be the same without her.
But, I will be better because of her. Dee was the epitome of strength and getting it done in the face of adversity. With all of the health problems she suffered, I never saw her whine or complain. She just lived. Dee worked hard for her clients, wrote wonderful stories for her readers, gave sage advice to her mentees, had tons of fun enjoying life’s simple pleasures, and loved her family—especially “Girlie”—deeply. She was able to do all of these things with the most beautiful, warm smile because she was a servant of God.
She is free of pain in His presence.