Leslie Esdaile aka LA Banks: 1959-2011

Book CoverAccording to several tweets and email messages from her friends and colleagues, Leslie Esdaile, also known as LA Banks, passed away this morning after battling adrenal cancer.

I am more sad about this than I can say. I spent a weekend with Leslie last year at Heather Graham’s “Writers for New Orleans” conference, and she was one of the most incredible people I’ve met. Funny and warm, generous and inspirational, with a very healthy dose of “Not taking any crap from anyone,” Leslie was simply amazing. And her “first call” story is still the funniest one.

Leslie was a founding member of The Liars Club of Philadelphia, and they’d scheduled a silent auction and bar party with live music to help offset her medical expenses. The silent auction items are awesome and include full manuscript critiques from several agents and editors. The party is this Saturday, 6 August, beginning at 7 p.m. at Smokey Joe’s bar located at 208 S. 40th Street in University City on the University of Pennsylvania campus. I imagine this will be one hell of a wake now. Tickets are $20 or $10 with a student ID.

ETA: I’m going to the party which is now called a celebration of Leslie’s life. If you’re planning to go, let me know by comment or email? I’ll look for you there.

My sympathies to her daughter and her family.

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  1. 1

    I’m so very sorry. I only met her once, but she was lively and fun, and I’d have loved to have seen her again. A great loss, and my sympathy goes out to her family and loved ones.

  2. 2
    sheriguy says:

    She was a beautiful woman and a wonderful writer. I am just sorry I never got a chance to meet her in person. Her books, particularly the Neteru series, restored my faith in the paranormal genre at a time when most of the writers I was following started to write utter dreck. Her words and turns of phrase will be sorely missed. Her insistence on showing a world where people of every creed and race can work together will be missed. Her unapologetic depiction of how the good can go bad and the bad become good will definitely be missed. Rest in peace Ms. Banks. Go with the light.

  3. 3
    Patrice says:

    So sad. She was on my mind. I only met her once but had the same impressions of her, lively, intelligent, gracious and funny. We had Philly in common as I was born and raised in the area. I’ve enjoyed her books for years. I’m sure the event this weekend will be bittersweet and hopefully a Philly style wake like those I remember from my youth. An early toast to Leslie – a life well lived, gone too soon. May the angels sing for you forever. Pinch a handsome one’s butt for me! ;-) RIP.

  4. 4
    Silver James says:

    Oh no! I’m just…stunned. What a wonderful personality lost much too soon. Leslie was a force of nature and I loved listening to her. Like Sarah, I met her at Heather’s Writers for New Orleans Conference last year. She held the room in the palm of her hand and had us doubled over with laughter. I was also fortunate enough to attend the Ghost Tour with her and her lovely daughter. My condolences to her and all of Leslie’s family, friends, and fans. We truly have lost one of the very best among us. She will be missed. And now I’m going to go shed a few tears for her before she chides me for doing so. Heaven has a new force to be reckoned with now. Rock on, Leslie!

  5. 5
    Mireya says:

    I was not a fan, but I am quite familiar with her name.  I am sorry to hear this.  My sincerest condolences to her family and loved ones. 

    Mireya

  6. 6
    sarah says:

    I’ve never read her, but condolences to her family, friends, and fans.

    (I do, however, know Smokey Joe’s. I’ve been there once or twice with friends.)

  7. 7

    Leslie was a force of nature and a true friend.

  8. 8
    SB Sarah says:

    How amazing to be the kind of person of whom people have incredibly kind things to say after having met only once. What a gift.

  9. 9

    I have met LA several times at RT – she was a staunch supporter of the readers who attended it each year.

    Leslie will be missed here on this earth but I believe her spirit will remain with us in Romanceland.

  10. 10
    Kate Pearce says:

    I met her in a long line at RT once and she was absolutely charming and funny and the time passed very quickly. She will be missed in many ways.

  11. 11

    I met LA at RWA in Reno along w/ Francis Ray. It was my first time attending conference and I was awestruck at all the authors I was meeting. As I write this I think about her smile, she was always quick to smile and it still shocks me that she’s gone. It just doesn’t seem real. My heart aches for her daughter.

  12. 12
    Jennifer Armintrout says:

    This is just such a tremendous loss to the entire genre fiction community. Even being aware that she was ill doesn’t take the shock out of this. My condolences to her family.

  13. 13
    Pamala says:

    I’m so sad to hear of her passing.  Such a terrible loss and I’m sure she will be missed.

  14. 14
    Pickle says:

    What a terrible loss.  I never met Leslie Banks in person, but her kick-@$$ female characters and interesting mythology left a lasting impression.  Her voice will truly be missed!

  15. 15
    J.C. Wilder says:

    Leslie was a fellow member of the Vampire Vixens and she was such a hoot. Energetic, upbeat, always smiling – that was Leslie. She will be sorely missed.

  16. 16
    Jessica says:

    This is terrible news. I never met Ms. Banks, but I emailed her once to get her impressions of the evolving vampire romance genre for a panel I was sitting on in March of last year. I had emailed a number of authors. Some never responded. Some responded with a brief not saying they were busy. At first I didn’t hear from Ms. Banks, and I figured she was in the first category.  Then, I did. She sent me a long and detailed email, which was chock full of insight and knowledge. At the end, she apologized for the delay.  She was busy, she explained, introducing President Obama at a health care event!

  17. 17
    ev says:

    I never met her either, but love her books. Now they will become keepsakes and her voice will be missed.

  18. 18
    Joanna S. says:

    I am so, so sorry to hear about her passing – I did not know she was ill.  I have enjoyed many of her novels and short stories, and I always love how her female characters never take shit from anyone!  She will be missed, but she will never be forgotten.

  19. 19

    Such a terrible loss, and her talent will be greatly missed by many xx I never got to meet her, but read her books with an eager heart—devoured them!  I do hope her family has all the love and support they need to get through this.

  20. 20
    Klio says:

    Breaking my lurking to add my condolences. Other than a quick moment at some convention, I’d had several opportunities to meet her and didn’t take advantage of them, unsure of whether I was going to read any of her books. Now, I will be sure to. How very sad. But I’m grateful I’ll have a chance to meet her through her writing.

  21. 21
    P.N. Elrod says:

    For those unable to attend the party or auction, J.A. Konrath has a link to make donations at the bottom of this blog entry.

    Anyone making a 30.00 or greater donation will get a FREE signed hardcover copy of his book “Bloody Mary.”

    http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/07/benefit-to-help-author-la-banks.html

  22. 22
    PJ Dean says:

    I will miss this lovely lady’s writing. I discovered her kick butt, Vampire-slaying, female characters way before it became fashionable. Just wish that she could have gotten noticed by an Alan Ball like type and had a chance to introduce Damali and crew to a wider audience. Now that would be some HBO show!

  23. 23

    The memorial service for our sister Leslie Esdaile Banks will be held on Saturday, Aug. 13 at 11 am @ Holy Apostles & the Mediator Episcopal Church 51st and Spruce, Philly, PA. 19139. 215 472-3000. At Leslie’s request in lieu of flowers she asked that a donation be made to the United Negro College Fund in her memory. Please share this information.
    Thank you

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