My friend and mentor, Steven D. Russell of Rite Publishing, was killed in an auto accident on July 5, 2016. I will miss him deeply, as he truly helped me become the freelancer I am today in the game industry. Even though I never worked for him, he encouraged me and gave me advice of how to grow as a freelancer. He and I had been discussing him participating in my Game Credits Who’s Who interview series soon. Consider this both my interview with him and my personal farewell to a man I greatly respected.
I met Steven the first time while managing the Chronicle City booth at Gen Con 2013. This was only my second time at Gen Con, my first real duties as the newly hired Community Coordinator of Chronicle City, and my first time ever running a booth at Gen Con. To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. Angus Abranson, owner of Chronicle City, introduced us, and a new friendship was born that quickly became a mentoring. Steven encouraged me all week while managing the booth, giving me insights into the game industry in little snippets as we had time to chat during our shifts in the booth. He could remain so calm and patient with visitors to the booth, he led by example as to how you build relationships at a convention. My Gen Con 2013 experience was amazing, and a large part of that is due to Steven’s mentoring and patience with me. Steven even honored me by asking me onto his Demiplane of Gaming video series after Gen Con to discuss my experience and insights into running the booth.
We stayed in touch after Gen Con, with him continuing to enlighten me to the world of game publishing. When I stepped away from my position as Community Coordinator at Chronicle City to focus on my burgeoning career as a freelance proofreader and editor, he took time to send me encouraging notes and to Skype with me about my current freelancing. At Gen Con each year, he took the time to introduce me to other freelancers and publishers at the Diana Jones and ENnie Awards. I cherished his friendship and appreciated his professional mentoring.
Thank you, Steven, for being my friend and my mentor. Your legacy will continue in your family, your friends, and in the game industry people whose lives you touched so vividly.