by: Donnell Ann Bell
On December 21, 2021, The Stiletto Gang lost a blog partner and friend. Cathy Perkins passed away. She was able to celebrate her 41st
wedding anniversary with her husband, and I know firsthand how proud and delighted she was with her daughters, spouses, and grandchildren. These people were her
For the most part, Cathy Perkins was a private person. In
this blogpost, I’d like to celebrate the dynamic person I knew, and why I
enjoyed her company so much. Cathy Perkins had a soft Southern drawl, a great
laugh, a terrific sense of humor, and a gleam in her eye. She enjoyed exercising and was serious about her health. Her myriad interests spanned
from finance and science (chemical engineering was her first degree), to walking her dogs,
to working with stained glass, and, of course, writing.
I met Cathy at the start of her writing career, after
judging her unpublished entry, The Professor, in the Daphne du Maurier Award
for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. Later, we would serve on committees and a
board together, and we periodically texted or phoned to catch up on the goings-on
in our careers.
Whether close by or across the country, she loved to attend writing
retreats, places where she was in her element and her most productive. Before COVID-19, the
women in her retreat group met yearly and were very special to her.
I attended two Left Coast Crime conferences, one in Monterey,
California, the other in Portland
Oregon. Cathy and I roomed together in Portland where the staff stashed us next
to an obnoxious chiming elevator filled with coming-and-going attendees. Didn’t matter, we spent
the whole night gabbing anyway.
|Cathy Perkins on a panel at Left Coast Crime|
|Authors D.V. Berkom, Donnell Bell and Cathy Perkins|
her beyond excited was the night she called me from Nashville to tell me The Body in the Beaver Pond had just won the prestigious Killer Nashville contest. That was so cool
because I had beta read two versions of the book–the first draft was good—the final
version, was outstanding. “This manuscript is ready,” I told her. “You need to get
it out there.”
I also beta read Calling for the Money, book three of her
Holly Price Financial series. In this book, I discerned a better understanding
of this financial whiz behind the words and why she was the perfect author to
write this series. She traveled constantly during her financial career, and did much of her writing on airplanes. More
than once I asked her when she planned to retire.
“Working on it,” she’d say. “When I’m ready.”
Always a planner, she and her husband had purchased a secluded
property in Washington state, they were clearing a tree-filled lot, and were
building their dream home. I never got to see the property in person, but trust
me, I saw it in my mind’s eye when I read The Body in the Beaver Pond. Cathy
occasionally described the labor-intensive maintenance and the construction woes,
mostly laughing when she relayed the drama.
The dilapidated cabin that her
protagonist Keri Isles inherits is an exaggerated structure for the real deal.
In its place, stands the Perkins’s long-awaited home with its stunning vistas, which eventually came to fruition.
In March of 2020, the Perkins came to visit my husband and
me in Las Cruces. COVID was just starting to rear its awful head, and I’m
grateful we had these few days to spend together.
|Author Cathy Perkins in Monterey|
In closing, Cathy Perkins did more living in her six decades
of life than many people do who are granted an additional thirty. She loved,
lived, traveled, and gave of herself to numerous volunteer organizations and charitable causes. I still have her text messages and I confess I’ve saved her last
voicemail. At some point I’ll probably delete it. Maybe . . . when I’m ready.
For now, I’m not ready. Rest in Peace, Cathy.
Donnell Ann Bell is an award-winning
author, including finalist in the 2020 Colorado Book Award, and the 2021 New
Mexico-Arizona Book Awards for her first straight suspense Black Pearl.
Book two is on her editor’s desk and she’s working on Book Three. You can learn
more about her other books or find her on Facebook, Twitter, or BookBub. Sign
up for her newsletter at www.donnellannbell.com