When I first married Jean, she was still Hank Stine, male. How else could I have married her?

She was the senior editor (later promoted to editor in chief, except that she was already working in that capacity. The title changed, but the job remained the same) at Donning/Starblaze. That was the third place I submitted my trilogy, The Moonstone of Reyanon, to. She negotiated the contract and then she negotiated me.

She had an assistant of sorts. Kay Reynolds was the bookkeeper at Donning/Starblaze. It cannot be denied that Kay wanted to be an editor. She was extremely tall, auburn-haired, and obese, but not unattractive despite that. Jean despised Kay. Donning/Starblaze brought out the original full color graphic novel version of Elfquest. Kay was the one who brought Elfquest to the attention of Donning. Jean took the credit.

Jean was so paranoid that she thought the only reason Kay had brought up Elfquest was to steal her job with Donning. That may or may not have been true. In fact, it was Kay who replaced Jean after she lost her job with Donning. However, that was three years later.

I had been a long time fan of the black and white Elfquest comic and I threw in with Kay on that. Jean capitulated and Donning acquired Elfquest. As everyone knows, the color edition was an instant success story.

Everything that went wrong was blamed on Kay and Jean grew increasingly paranoid about her. Now, this last bit I can’t prove. Robert Adams, whose horseclans novels were initially coming out from Donning, threw his weight into the fray and Kay was made an assistant editor. Jean told me that the reason Bob had done this was because he and Kay were sleeping together and that Bob admitted it to him. Like I said, I can’t prove it because all I have is Jean’s word on it and Jean is not a reliable source of anything.

A pattern was established here. It would take me many years and many changes of jobs for Jean before I began to see it. It was always someone else’s fault.

First Kay, later me, later others. Always Jean fucked up and someone else was to blame for her lack of self-discipline, lack of professionalism.

When things started going wrong with Renebooks, first it was Helene’s fault, then it was Jane Letty’s fault, and then it was my fault. Finally she took to blaming her SO, Frankie, for it. And then she returned to blaming me for it. Blaming Helene is a repeat performance. Every time I turned around she was blaming Helene for something.

However, here’s the thing. She would blame Helene for things being late, and then at the last minute, after supposedly turning everything into Helene several weeks before, Jean would double check with me to figure out who was owed what. Now, if the figures had already gone to Helene, why was Jean asking me these questions?