Remembering Jim Lavene


James Lavene
September 1, 1952 – May 5, 2016

Back in October we said goodbye to Joyce Lavene. It breaks my heart that this past Thursday, her partner in everything left to join her. Just like when Joyce passed, I sat here thinking it just can’t be true. It took time to sink in, and I could barely string two words together to offer my sympathy to the family. Now a little time has passed and I know they are together in heaven. That eases the pain for me and I am hoping it does just a little bit for his family.

I didn’t know Jim nearly as well as I knew Joyce. Joyce was always the go to person for book promotion and transitioned into a friend that I miss so much today. Jim, in my mind was always the man behind the scenes. Busy writing and handling technical things. Joyce was always the one who wrote the guest posts but back in January of 2014, I put Jim on the spot and in the spotlight by requesting a guest post from him. The tears started flowing when I looked back at this post. So I am going to share it again with you because this is the Jim I knew. The Jim before Joyce passed away.

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am especially excited today to Welcome Jim Lavene.

Joyce has dropped by before but this is his first visit.

I hope it won’t be his last 🙂

A Guy’s Guide to Writing Cozy Mysteries (with his wife)

By Jim Lavene

Jim Lavene biopicOkay. People ask a lot about Joyce and me working together every day. Let’s go ahead and get that one out of the way.

I can’t tell you how many women are just plain glad that they don’t have to work with their husbands. Ladies: Men feel the same way.

Joyce and I have a weird kind of symbiotic relationship. You all knew that already, right? We both grew up with our heads in books, living on other planets and meeting incredible people.

Now we can create those interesting places and people. I can’t start to tell you how much fun that is. And when you can do it with your best friend – that makes it all the better!

I never knew what they were called when I was a kid – but I loved reading Agatha Christie novels. Now I know they’re cozy mysteries.  I also have a thing for the old Gothic novels. But I admit that my favorite books are fantasy and/or science fiction.

When Joyce and I aren’t writing, we have some individual hobbies we like to do. I like to fix computers. All of our friends and family know where to bring their computers when they aren’t working. It took me a year once to find the right program to recover my daughter’s hard drive (it had all her pictures on it) but eventually, I got them all back for her. That was satisfying!

playing with fireWhen I was a kid, I wanted to go into space. That was really the only thing I wanted to do. We all grow up and find other things, but that was always my dream. I’m hoping I can still accomplish that.

As far as escaping somewhere to write, I can’t imagine doing that by myself. I’m happy doing what I’m doing, with the person I’m doing it with, in the place we are.

I’m a Virgo, so we don’t think of escaping much. We dig our feet into the earth, and build on what we know, and what we have.

Oh, and I really like how many letters we get from women saying they are in love with Eric, our ghost in the Sweet Pepper series. Eric is totally patterned after me (except for the cooking part and the dead part). So keep those letters coming, ladies. I enjoy reading them!

Thanks for having me here, Lori!


Sadly this was the last time he visited. The two of them together were whole, I am sure with her passing he felt like he had lost half of himself. Truthfully with Joyce gone I can’t believe the way he jumped on social media, kept up the commitments they had made and even set up new book tours. He also had stories to complete with deadlines looming. I am still amazed by the strength he showed his fans when we all knew how much he was hurting.

I was blessed to have both Joyce and Jim touch my life in more ways than I can count. Cozy readers were blessed to have the wonderful stories they had written. Their stories are the kind that will stand the test of time so they have legacy behind for new fans to discover.

Yet again I see that tomorrow is never promised. We need to live for today, count our blessings. God has a plan, he must have needed these special people in heaven, no matter how much we wanted them to stay with us here.

I just love this picture of Joyce and Jim

Joyce and Jim were married for 44 years. He is survived by his son Christopher, his daughter Jeni, his daughter Emily, and grandchildren Eric, Jason, Anthony, Gabrielle and Katharine, and 3 sisters, Rene Dickson, Rhonda Richter and Sherri Boyce.

They wrote bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books. They traveled to Ren Faires, book signings, conventions and conferences. It seemed like that always off on some fun adventure.

Memorials may be made to the Midland Fire Department for their assistance and the hard work put into our community every day.

I now will miss them both, but it is not truly goodbye, just until we meet again. 

Until that time they live on in all the stories. I will be visiting them there soon and often. They have left quite a mark on this earth and brought joy to so many.

Blessed Be My Friend!

Please keep Jim and Joyce’s family in your prayers. 

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Sunday Salon will return next week.

22 thoughts on “Remembering Jim Lavene

  1. Sweet tribute, and thanks a for the repost, I missed out first time around.

  2. Thank you for this, Lori. I missed it the first time around. I know how you feel about it not feeling real. I cried for days for Joyce, and I am doing the same for Jim. Jim was content with letting Joyce be the “out front person”, but when she passed, he stepped in and wished us all a good morning every day. I miss those posts. The days feels emptier without them. Oh…I’m one of the women madly in love with Erik. Now I know why. I’ll always miss you Jim and Joyce. Thank you for all the pleasure your books have brought, and all the joy you both gave me. Rest In Peace dear friends.

  3. A beautiful tribute, Lori (Dollycas). The loss of Jim, so quickly after Joyce, is heartbreaking news. They were a generous couple who gave so many readers joy through their work–and they will continue to live on in their books…and in our hearts and memories. xoxo ~ Cleo

  4. That was so nice. Thank you. I was so sad when I read about his passing on Thursday.

  5. Thank you for the moving tribute to both Jim and Joyce. I never had the pleasure of meeting them but did msg through Facebook and enjoyed every chat, not to mention their books.
    They are missed. Condolences to the family, both by birth and by books.

  6. I was lucky enough to have met Jim & Joyce at Joanna’s book signing in St Louis. They spoke of their plans for the future, we just didn’t know how short that would be. Safe passages!

  7. Thank you for the wonderful tribute to Jim and Joyce. I never met either of them, but I am truly blessed to have known and loved them through their books. Blessed Be

  8. It is sad, but I believe he and Joyce are back together sharing their stories. I am have so many books to enjoy, they both will not be far from my thoughts.

  9. Thank you so much for this. I never knew this wonderful couple, but your post brought me to tears. I will be sure to enjoy their legacy of books!

  10. This is a beautiful post. Thank you for posting it. I was shocked and saddened to learn of his passing.

  11. I’m so sad about his passing – and Joyce’s, too. I didn’t know them very well, but hosted them several times on my blog, tweeted with them & interacted in the facebook group with them. They are going to be sorely missed. Thank you for sharing this post.

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