News about Blaize

Dear Friends and Readers,

I am very sorry to report that Blaize Clement, my mother, passed away on the morning of July 20th, 2011, after a year-long disagreement with cancer. She would want you all to know that the weeks leading up to her death were peaceful, often joyful and, well, busy.  As she saw it, having a healthy amount of time to reflect upon her death was a gift, but also a responsibility.  On the day of her diagnosis, she imagined a mystery told from the point of view of an Irish Retriever in heaven, and immediately began working on it. I, Malcolm was completed just weeks before her death. She also put the final touches on the next Dixie Hemingway mystery, The Cat Sitter’s Pajamas, which will be published this January. When her editor called to suggest that I continue the series, she was thrilled.  I was terrified.  Honored, but terrified. How could I possibly hope to continue my mother’s work? But for the next two months I sat at her bedside, and we talked for hours and hours about the possibilities of Dixie’s life and how it could unfold going forward. As she laid out the groundwork for Dixie’s next adventure, I began to realize that nothing was more important to my mother than seeing Dixie live on. So with that in mind, we have just signed on with St. Martin’s for at least one more installment in the Dixie Hemingway mystery series, and hopefully many more to come.

I learned a lot from my mother. How to tie a tie. How to make a killer spaghetti sauce. How to love. But most importantly, I learned that in both life and death, fear is a useless, stupid waste of time. If she had any regrets or apprehensions about dying, they were tiny and fleeting. She looked forward in death the same way she did in life:  with passion, joy and a sense of the infinite possibility. I know she would wish the same for all her friends and readers.

In accordance with her wishes, there will be no public memorial service. However, donations can be made in her name to the Tidewell Hospice House in Sarasota, Florida.


John Clement



45 thoughts on “News about Blaize

  1. As an internet reader who has never been lucky enough to meet Blaize in person, I hardly feel able to comment on your loss. I am, however, confident in saying that with Blaize no longer with us, the world has lost a wonderful voice and source of color.

    Deepest regrets,

  2. John, I was not only a fan of your mother’s work but also a fan of her as a person. In a recent blog post, I wrote how I learned many things from her but one thing I hope to always remember is that it’s okay to be different, that “normal” is overrated.

    It’s good to know that Dixie will live on.

    Take care…

  3. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy. Having a parent die is difficult … my mother died in February — but, she was 104!!! I am a new reader of the “Dixie” series and was totally mesmerized with each book … read all in about a week, could not stop. Then passed them on to other pet lovers. PLEASE continue to write about “Dixie,” even tho you must have a time to mourn, perhaps this will be one of the ways you can do that.

    Carol Angle, St. Louis MO

  4. I am so sorry to hear this news. I started reading your mom’s books a few years ago and fell in love with her Dixie series. I commented on this blog about how much I enjoyed sitting out on my balcony with one of her books and reading for hours. I always enjoyed her blog messages and looked forward to reading new posts.

    I loved the way she would response to replies; it just meant so much to me that she read my comments. My condolences to you and your family. You were lucky to have such a wonderful mom. Again I’m so sorry for your loss.

    With kind regards,

  5. John! My heart is aching. I am so sorry I haven’t been there for her or for you. I don’t even have words or a reason I can speak. To read this sadness in the news was a jolt of my lifetime. I drove to the house immediately and rang the doorbell , i guess strangely hoping she would say her usual “COME IN”. I sat at the doorway and sobbed. I am so sorry for your loss. I am so sorry I wasnt aware of her pain. You were her full joy and you know that. My loss is my own and my stupidity for not being present as of late. She taught me so much and she was such a gift to my life. I loved her and cherished our friendship and times together. more than she will ever be aware. Please allow me to help you with the difficult times. I am here for you when you come back. I would love to help you with any of the medial responsibilities May I stop by the house to offer my hand.. And listen to some of the last days stories. I hope that would be OK with you. . Maybe I am being selfish but I need a place to say goodbye and share your love for just a minute. By then the tears may have stopped. and we can laugh a little. I hope you are well. I love that you are going to continue her writing. She will write thru you. You will be perfect!!! My email is
    Love , Love , Love………Tanya Burley

  6. Please accept my deepest sympathies for the passing of your Mom. Her book series was very enjoyable as was her insights to life and living in her blog. We have lost a wonderful voice.

  7. I am so sorry to read of your mother’s passing. She was a very talented woman whose books entertained me and enriched my life. I know you will miss her greatly. Please know that are many others that will mourn her loss with you.

  8. I was lucky enough to be in your mom’s first Thursday writing group where she started working on the Dixie series. The five of us would make tea and chat a little before your mom would get down to business. She’d choose a word or a concept from a little stack of cards, and we would dutifully scribble our little hearts out for five minutes before she would say “stop!” We’d read our short scenes or dialogue or nonsense and mine each one for nuggets of phrases or sentences to be used in our prospective novels. We’d be reading along and someone–usually your mom–would say “ooohh, I like that. Use that.” We’d put asterisks by the chosen phrases in our notebooks and feel proud that we’d actually accomplished something. Then she’d pick another card and we’d start again. Your mom was a constant source of support, laughter and good sense. Sometimes we’d write with our non-dominant hand just to check in with the other side of our brains. That usually brought more laughter. Sometimes we’d discuss fundamental writing techniques or hear stories about her time in France or working as a therapist. It was always a happy, creative two hours in her cozy house.

    She had a wonderful caring and understanding about people, and I called her a few times to get her advice about family problems. She gave wise counsel to two of my daughters over the past few years. Too infrequently, she went with my wife and me to a movie or out to dinner. That was before she became a rock star writer. I’m so glad you are carrying on the mystery series. She deserves a huge following.

    Your mom was one of a kind, and our little part of the world is a better place for her contributions to it.

    My wife joins me in sending our deepest condolences to you and your brother. We all miss her.

  9. Hello John,
    I just want to say that I am very saddened to read of your mother’s passing. I stumbled upon this news while checking out Blaize Clement’s website.
    What a wonderful and talented writer. I’m loving the Dixie Hemingway series. I read the first book a few days ago, “Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter” & was totally enchanted with the characters, the pets & the setting. I enjoyed the first book so much that I immediately went right into the second one, “Duplicity Dogged the Dachshund”. Yes, I’m thrilled with it too.
    I’m enjoyed this series better than any books I’ve read in a while so I wanted to get a list of everything that Ms. Clements had written, checked on the internet & was pretty stunned to hear that had recently passed.
    My deepest sympathies & regrets.

  10. So sorry for your loss, John. I had just finished reading one of your mother’s Catsitter novels when I learned of her passing. I am a writer also dealing with disabling disease, also turning from nonfiction to fiction late in life. I was inspired to keep on after learning her story. She overcame much more than I have had to. She was an inspiration in many ways. Thanks for carrying on her legacy.

  11. So very sorry for your loss. I never met your Mom in person, but it sounds like she was quite a lady. Your Mom’s Dixie series is fantastic and I could never wait until her newest book would come out. She allowed me to escape from real life for a bit and think only about what trouble Dixie would get herself into next. As a fellow Floridian, I love the Siesta Key settings! So glad that you will continue the series for her.

  12. I’m so sorry for your loss. I was saddened by the news of your mom’s passing. I was a huge fan of the Dixie Hemingway series, and I will always treasure the personalized and autographed review copy of Cat Sitter Among the Pidgeon that she sent me, I’m glad that you will continue the series.

  13. John, I am so very sorry and shocked to hear Blaize has passed away! I learned of this while reading my Dear Reader comments from Suzanne Beecher. I have been a fan ever since her first Pet Sitter series was published! In fact, I believe I emailed her once that I wish she would write faster! Always anxious for the next new adventure to begin. I think it is absolutely fabulous that you will continue the Dixie Hemmingway series and I thank you. I will continue being a fan and think of Blaize as I read. And I must say what a wonderful attitude she had in dealing with her preparation for this new adventure she has now stepped into. I am sure she is very happy and enjoying herself.

  14. John ~ I read about your Mom’s passing in the Dear Reader column today and was shocked and stunned. I don’t know why we, as readers, expect our favorite authors to keep writing for our pleasure for many years to come. I always looked forward to getting those e-mails that said a new Dixie book was coming out. I would rush to the library website to reserve a copy only to find 10 people were in front of me and the book hadn’t even been released yet!! My heart breaks for you John. I have been where you are. You and your family will be in my prayers. – Linda

  15. I am so sorry to hear of your mom’s death. She was an incredible writer. I have read her books for years now. There was such depth to her characters. The world has lost a great storytellers. My prayers are with you and all those who loved her.

  16. I am sorry to learn about your Mom. I loved her books and think that I would have loved her as well. Prayers to you and your family.

  17. Please accept my sincere condolences. I am so sad to learn of your mother’s death. I “met” her through DearReader and loved all her books. I wish you all the best in continuing her work and your life.

  18. Such a touching tribute to you mom. She was a wonderful writer and I loved when she filled in for Suzanne on her Dear Reader Blog. My thoughts and prayers go out to you, your family, and all the people who loved Blaize.

  19. I am saddened by the loss of a very good woman, and will take her example to heart. I once said to my mother’s doctor that I hoped to have her courage and humor when I needed them.
    I am also heartened and impressed, John, by your willingness to carry on her work. I was impressed by Dixie’s care for her animal “clients” and the information shared, and even more impressed by the affectionate and matter-of-fact inclusion of her “brother-in-love.” Life as it should be, but we don’t see it often enough.
    My book club just read The Guernsey Literary . . . Society, which was finished by the niece of the author. It was very good, and we wouldn’t have had it without the efforts of her loving niece.

  20. Dear John and family, our heartfelt sympathies. I am saddened by this loss. Not just yours, but ours too. I bet she was fun to have as a Momma. I loved her sense of humor and caring. She emailed me a few times when I commented on how much I love Dixie and her cat/animal-friendly mysteries. God bless all of you. How wonderful that you will continue her work, for the near future anyway.

  21. P.S. (an appropriate quote for this time)

    “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
    — Jorge Luis Borges

  22. John, I am so sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. I have read her work and thoughts frequently while being a DearReader subscriber and she was a pleasure to “listen” to. Good luck in following in her path.
    Teresa Flores

  23. I am so sorry to hear about your mother’s death. I read about it on DearReader, where I started reading the first of her Dixie Hemingway stories. I love the books and am glad Dixie will be living on. I e-mailed back and forth with your mother a few years ago when she was a guest columnist on DearReader, and she was so funny and down to earth. I had been reading her blog off and on and noticed that she hadn’t written for a while. I thought she must be busy with a new book . . . It sounds like she was a wonderful person and mother, and I’m so glad you had the opportunity to be with her at the end. I hope I can set as good an example for my children when my time comes.

    Take care,

  24. John,
    I was introduced to your mother’s books by Suzanne with the email bookclubs. I love her books and am so sorry to hear of your loss. She sounds like she was such a fun lady, I wish I could say the same about me. I will look forward to you continuing her series.

  25. My condolences to you and your family for your loss. Your mothers’ books brought me much entertainment. I am so glad to hear you will be continuing the pet sitters series. Here’s to you and Dixie.
    God speed.

  26. Dear John, I was absolutely shocked when I read of Blaize’s passing. Just shocked. i really cared about her. We wrote back and forth a little, as I knew how busy she was writing her books. I sent her a book of my poems and a peachy colored journal(her favorite color)as I knew she wrote in one each night, kept it by her bedside table. She meant a great deal to me. I thought each time I checked her blog and there was nothing new, she was just writing her books. I didn’t want to disturb her, so I didn’t write. Oh how I wish I had. She may have confided a bit of her health. I am so sorry John. Good Luck on the series and life without your mother. Once I asked her how she got the name Blaize. She said it was a long story that she would tell me one day……Well, I will not hear it from her, but I bet it would be interesting, if she told it! Take care, Love, Bonny

  27. I found out today, am shocked, and of course, feel a great sense of loss. I always felt she was rather a kindred spirit. Good luck with continuing the series, and keeping Dixie alive, and along with her, your mother’s lovely spirit! I’ll miss her marvelous, insightful blog posts, too. Rest in peace, Blaize.

  28. I am so sorry to learn of your mother’s passing. What she reflected of herself in her wonderful series was very special. And it seems she passed some of that on to you too, John. Blaize will be missed; her voice through Dixie will be missed, but I’m looking forward to reading what you bring to it. Your mom must have been very proud of you. Wishing you all the best,

  29. I was shocked to hear about your mom’s passing. I discovered her books on a trip to Sarasota and treasured each of her stories. For me they were not only a good mystery story but sort of a narrative therapy on how to deal with love, loss, and persuit of happiness.


  30. I am so very sorry for your loss. I love the Dixie books, and when I heard of your mother’s death, I just had to come here and let you know how much I appreciated her books. I am excited to read her last two books, and I look forward to your taking on the series.

  31. Thank you for this post. I realize that you published it almost two months ago… I haven’t been checking blogs for a while. I was so sorry to hear of your loss. Your mother brought great pleasure to her readers. I’ll look forward to the continuation of the books through you. What a wonderful thing.

    My best regards…


  32. John, I just read about your mother’s passing. I am so sorry. In fact, at this moment her book “Cat Sitter Among the Pigeons” is sitting in my kitchen waiting for me to read it while I eat my dinner. I LOVED her books for many reasons but mostly because I am a pet-sitter and I really learned so much about my part-time profession, different techniques and skills to perfect.

  33. John – I am so happy to read that you will continue your mother’s work on the Dixie mysteries. I only discovered your mother and Dixie a few months back, and read all of the Dixie mysteries, and loved all of them. I was so saddened to learn of her death and thinking that there would be no more Dixie novels made me even sadder. So, thank you for agreeing to carry on for her. I look forward to I Malcolm and especially The Cat Sitter’s Pajamas, and any others that you follow these. I send you and your family my deepest sympathy. Having lost my mother to cancer almost 40 years ago, I know you will hold your mother in your hearts forever.

    Carolyn B.

  34. What a sad day it is to learn of Blaize’s passing. I too lost my father to cancer almost 8 years ago. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him, whether it be a tear or a giggle. He is never far from my thoughts.
    I became aware of the Dixie series through my mother a month or so ago and quickly borrowed all of the books from the library. I’m currently reading ” Cat Sitter Among the Pigeons”, and naturally loving it! What wonderful news that John will be continuing the series. What a great way to stay connected to his mother. All of Blaize’s fans will be cheering John on and looking forward to reading of Dixie’s life and antics.
    Thank you Blaize and John for a wonderful series.


    Heather Wood

  35. Dear John,

    I have just learned the sad news about your mother. She was my favorite writer. I loved her books. They bring me joy. I have read them at least three times each. I do hope you will carry on her legacy.

    My own mother, Laurel Engel, who was pictured here on your mom’s site, walking my cat MANDY, passed away JUNE 14th, 2011. I was her caretaker. She, like your mom, was vibrant, beautiful, loved animals, and all people, was a great teacher to everyone, and had many gifts of communication to share. I miss her.

    I am so very saddened to hear of your loss. I will continue to treasure your mother’s books, and hopefully yours to come as well.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Candy in California (Sugarx2)

  36. Dear John, I am using my husband’s Face Book page to write you this comment. I just found out about your mother’s death and I want to offer my sincere sympathies. I so look forward to reading about Dixie Hemingway and her family & friends. The books always filled me with joy. She must have been a wonderful person to create such amazing characters.

    I just finished he Cat Sitter’s Pajamas, which I absolutely loved! I am delighted that you will continue the series and I am sure that you will be a wonderful conduit for her voice.

    I would like to extend my deepest condolences to you and your family. May her memory live on in your hearts.

    Shirley Gans

  37. John, I haven’t read “Pajamas” but I’m hearing good things about it. If you want to promote a little at for my Hearing Voices monthly column, let me know. Maybe a post titled, My Mother’s Voice? You’ve taken on such a challenging mission, I think our readers would be interested in reading about your process. Also a good way to promote the new title, of course. Email me if you’re interested and have time. Wishing you a bright and productive new year!

  38. John, I just finished reading the CAT SITTER’S PAJAMAS (totally terrific) followed immediately by I, MALCOLM. What a wonderful story that is! And I cried all over again thinking about the loss of your wonderful Mother. Initially, I attended one of your Mother’s day classes at the college and later sought her out to do a small editing job. I was also one of the lucky ones invited to spend time at your Mother’s famous dining room table in a writing group. That little stack of cards Blaize used was like a pan of gravel that she shared with us so we could learn to mine those little nuggets of gold. She taught us all so much before she signed that first contract. My husband and I took your Mother
    ‘rock’ shopping one day and it was a joyful occasion. She was so delighted when we had that yard rock delivered and set in place. Just yesterday, my neighbor stopped by and mentioned that she had just finished the cutest book about a pet sitter. I asked if it was by chance about Dixie Hemingway (not related to you know who) and she shouted, “YES, and I loved it.” I told her about my dear friend Blaize and let her know there are six more books on my shelf that she is welcome to borrow. We will both be looking forward to next January to see where you take Dixie. I know your Momma will be looking down and smiling because she will be so very proud of you.

  39. John-I just finished reading The Cat Sitter’s Pajamas when I went to Good Reads to register the book and read of your mother’s passing last July, only a week before my mother’s passing on July 28 from vascular dementia as a result of a stroke in 2009. I am so sorry for your loss. However, I am happy to learn that the Dixie adventure will go on at least one more time. And, as an aside I have a cat named Dixe and her sister is called Pixie.

  40. I’m a new reader of your wonderful mother’s pet-sitter mystery series and absolutely love each and every one of her books! She beautifully captures the gorgeous landscape of Siesta Key – which I would love to visit one day! And her love for animals really comes through in her lyrical prose. I just found out today that she is no longer with us and am deeply saddened by this tremendous loss. It’s so wonderful that you are going to carry on the series. I really look forward to reading the new installments.
    Every best wish,

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