Howard Hopkins: An E-Author Too Soon Gone
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The online community morns the loss of multi-talented author Howard Hopkins. His passing reverberated throughout the Internet, filling hearts with shock and sadness—a man gone much too soon from this life.

At the age of 50, Maine resident Howard Hopkins died unexpectedly on January 12, 2012, leaving behind a legacy of talent, admiration, and love. He also left an impressive number of published books: 31 Westerns under the name of Lance Howard and over 40 more horror and young adult novels under his own name. Hopkins had a way with words that immediately sucked you into the story and left you wanting more. His passion for people and life spilled onto the pages he wrote and right into your heart. You don’t come away from a Howard Hopkins/Lance Howard novel without feeling something intense and deep. Not only was he that way with his writing but also as a person.

I’ve reviewed several of Howard Hopkins’s novels, by my all-time favorite is The Dark Riders, a vampire Western about a young man who loses everything he loves and still finds the strength to stand up and fight against unholy evil. Another novel of his that I hold close to my heart is Pistolero, a Western about a gunfighter who rides in to save a town and hopefully win back the heart of his lost love.

Hopkins was never afraid to push the boundaries of fiction. He often mixed Westerns with a hint of the paranormal. The Silver-Mine Spook is a fine example, with its mixture of Western mystery, gypsies, and ghosts. Hopkins also wrote straight Westerns like Johnny Dead and Blood Creek—both novels about women of the West fighting against men’s atrocities and the cowboys who fought by their side. And let’s not leave out his earlier horror novels like Grimm and Night Demons, where ancient evil sleeps until something awakens it.

Other notable works include The Chloe Files, an ongoing series featuring an exotic dancer who kicks evil’s butt when it rears its ugly head and threatens New Salem, Maine. And his young adult series, The Nightmare Club, keeps young readers enthralled as a group of boys (and one tough girl) solves the mysteries of the supernatural realm.

On the day before his passing, Hopkins left behind some profound words that I’ll never forget. He wrote on Facebook:

Some days it is more difficult being a writer than others. Some days the words won’t come, or the ones that do suck. Or maybe sales take a dump or somebody leaves you a bad review. Maybe the sound of your author “voice” sounds like nails on a chalkboard. But we need those days…because it is in times like that you either “hold ‘em or fold ‘em.” It’s when you grow, and know that, “yeah, this is my passion, what I was meant to be.”

With these words, Hopkins truly captured the essence of what it means to be a writer.

I was not one of Howard’s close friends, but I can claim the old cliché that I am one of his biggest fans, and I had the honor of being on his list of people he’d go to for a review. One of my most memorable encounters with Howard was when I mentioned how I’ve been told more than once that because I write paranormal novels with evil characters in them that I’m bound for hell. Howard laughed and said, “Well, Margaret, if that’s true, I’ll be sitting right next to you on that elevator going down.” Classic Howard Hopkins that makes me smile even now. He touched so many lives with his warm heart, sense of humor, and awe-inspiring writing; the world has truly lost a great talent and an even greater man.

Well, Howard, you’ve boarded that elevator ahead of me, but I know it’s not headed down. Save me a seat at that great banquet in heaven. Depending on when the Lord calls me home, you may not recognize me, so look for the lady carrying an old and tattered copy of The Dark Riders along with her Bible. Until then, entertain the angels with your precious gift. We will miss you, Comrade.

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