When I had dinner with Rollin Hand in August of 2015, he was just entering retirement and ready to fulfill his dream of spending the rest of his life writing. Rollin got his wish. He spent the rest of his life writing.
If only the rest of his life had been longer.
I'm angry again. Rollin is the second friend I've lost this year who died before his time, who left with many miles still left under the hood, who left behind friends to grieve not just the loss of a man, but the loss of talent and kindness from this world.
Writing a tribute to a man like Rollin is both easy and hard. It's easy because there's so much good to say. It's hard because you're afraid you'll leave something out.
Rollin was talented, prolific, and delightfully passionate about penning tales that appealed to both men and women. His blog, Disciplinary Tales, was wildly popular. Rollin has said he didn't just write spanking stories, but stories with spanking. That's what made him so well read. He loved writing in this genre, and people flocked to stories featuring both male and female tops.
Rollin was generous. Go to his blog if you haven't been and thank me later for suggesting it to you, because there is so much fantastic free content to be had. Not only was he generous in sharing his own personal work, but the work of other writers. If you were an author who needed a boost for your new book, you didn't have to ask Rollin to feature you on his blog because he'd offer.
Rollin was grateful. When I made him a teaser for his first Jordan St. John book, he thanked me repeatedly. When we were in Texas at the Stormy Night retreat where we shared that dinner, I gave him a book - a vintage lesbian pulp fiction novel, the kind with the old-fashioned over-the-top covers. He was so damn happy with that book, and I was happy to give it to him. It's easy to do things for nice people. And Rollin was nice.
Rollin was ordinary. The may seem like a weird compliment, but he was the kind of guy you'd pass on the street. But that's what made his delight in writing kinky fiction so delicious. When we were at dinner, he told he how much he enjoyed his double life as a both a successful professional and an erotic author. Rollin is all of us. He's the ordinary person who sits down at the computer to pursue our extraordinary passion. In that way, he really is representative of authors in a genre populated not by vamps and sirens, but by moms and dads and even grandparents.
Who knows how much time any of us have left. This year is teaching me not to take a day for granted. And Rollin has inspired me to make the most of my days - to write and write and write because there's nothing finer than taking joy in your art, unless it's doing so with the knowledge that there are people out there waiting to enjoy it. That was Rollin's reality. He was loved and well-read by thousands of people. And even if he didn't have the years he wanted, he passed this life as a successful author he aspired to be.
We miss you, Rollin. Thank you for being an inspiration, and a friend.