It is with a heavy heart I write to let everyone know that my friend Dean Andersson passed away yesterday morning. He struggled with a number of medical problems over the past year. He was released from his most recent hospital visit Wednesday, June 30. He was able to spend his last days at home with his wife and cats before he passed away in his sleep early Monday morning, July 5, 2021.
Many people who subscribe to this blog or are connected to my Facebook account know Dean primarily as a writer. He was so much more than that. He was a husband, mentor, and friend. He had a charming, understated way about him. He was polite, always took the time to listen patiently to others, and had a subtle sense of humor. He was always ready with a kind or encouraging word.
Dean and I met in 2003 when I was organizing a local chapter of the Horror Writers Association, the DFW HWA. He quickly became part of my local family; neither of us had family in the area, and we shared so many common interests. We later discovered we were fellow Piceans, which seemed to explain how we were on the same wavelength not only with books, movies, and interests, but the way we saw life in general. We shared a mutual love for cats; they had a way of finding both of us, so we enjoyed sharing our various cat tales. When the frequency of convention visits died down and the DFW HWA chapter disbanded, our friendship continued. Until he retired, we were both technical writers at local software companies. We met frequently for lunch to commiserate over Tex-Mex platters about the absurdities of corporate America, discuss our latest artistic discoveries, and talk about writing projects. He was an encouraging mentor to me when I was focused on writing fiction, and was generous in sharing his hard-won wisdom on the business and craft of writing.
Looking through old pictures is a little bittersweet. We had such great times together, but you never think about having to say goodbye for the last time. You seldom know what conversation will be your last. If I had to pick a last conversation, the one we had was as close to perfect as one might get—we talked about everything from the meaning of life to God himself. We talked a lot about God. I brought him a book of Robert E. Howard’s Kull stories and a Bible, which I promised had heroes and heroines, swords and sorceresses, dragons, pagan gods, epic battles, and the living dead. He was so grateful, and it was such a good talk. I left Dean’s hospital room a week and a half ago with a promise that I would bring lunch by his house and hang out in a couple of weeks, after he’d had a chance to get settled in again at home. Well … I know I’ll see him again someday, it’s just going to be a longer wait. In the meantime, the world is a bit poorer without him. He would no doubt have some subtle quip to make at that, but I insist it’s true.
It strikes me now that anything I write is woefully inadequate to express how much I’ll miss Dean. I am still processing the idea that I will never see him again in this life. And yet, I am grateful his suffering has come to an end, and he is at peace. When his wife called me last night to let me know Dean had died, she emphasized how peaceful and easy his passing had been, at home in his bed with one of the cats by his side. That seems all right. Just the way he would have wanted it.
Rest in peace, my friend.
In lieu of an official obituary, I’d like to share some of the accomplishments of Dean’s life. He served in the Air Force and held three Bachelors degrees in Astrophysics, Business, and Graphic Design from Northern Arizona University and the University of North Texas. His first two novels were Crimson Kisses and The Lair of Ancient Dreams, published by Avon in 1981 and 1982, written under the pseudonym Asa Drake. He went on to write a successful trilogy of sword and sorcery novels—one of the first series to feature a swordswoman-and-sorceress hero before Xena hit the airwaves—his lauded and much reprinted Bloodsong series. The original editions were released by Warner Books: Warrior Witch of Hel (1985), Death Riders of Hel (1986), and Werebeasts of Hel (1986), originally published as by Asa Drake, but later re-released under his own name.
Dean was the author of several horror novels as well. His Dallas Horror Trilogy included Torture Tomb (Warner 1987), Raw Pain Max (Warner 1988), and Fiend (Zebra 1994). His other novels include Buried Screams (1992), I Am Dracula (1993), and I Am Frankenstein (1996), all published by Zebra Books. He also wrote short fiction. His short stories appeared in the mass market anthologies Scare Care, Dark Destiny I & III, Dark Seductions, and The Many Faces of Van Helsing to name just a few. His 2007 short story “The Death Wagon Rolls On By” published in Cemetery Dance #57 was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Short Fiction.
All of Dean’s books have been re-released by Crossroads Press, and are available through the usual outlets. To check them out on Amazon, click here.