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December 2011

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A tribute to Tham

A mutual friend emailed me with very sad news.  There is a great void in the Herc/Xenaverse now - a great writer and long-time friend has died after a battle with breast cancer.  Those who have been in the fandom for many years will remember her as Thamiris: founder of the KSmithAres list, gifted writer and story-teller.  She left us way too soon - at 42- with so many stories left unwritten.  I choose to remember her as "Tham" - mutual Ares lover, occasional debater, arbitor of differences, and most of all, friend.

Tham and I go way, way back,  to the beginnings of the Herc/Xena fandom.  We had our occasional differences and debates about slash fanfic vs gen/het fan fic, but we genuinely liked and admired each other as friends first.  All those differences in taste and style became unimportant over time and we let them drift away to revel in our shared rememberances of the laughter and fun that brought us together as friends in the first place.  Tham always had my back in the old days and even when we weren't on the best of terms, I admired her for being willing to speak up for what she believed in.

We met once in person,  at a con in NYC, and we kept in touch over the years, mostly on each other's birthdays.  Every year, we sent each other some XXX rated, Ares-inspired birthday email.  We'd catch up for a few days chatting by email, and neither of us ever missed a birthday.  I always knew that there would be a birthday email from Tham in my inbox on Nov. 10th.  This year, when I sent my usual birthday email to her on March 27th, and I didn't get a response, I knew something was wrong.  I hoped that maybe she had run off to some exotic vacation spot with a new man, or was busy researching material for another story.  But my gut told me it was more than that.  This is her obituary:


Tham was a dedicated slash writer.  She was one of the few who could get me to read slash, simply because of her superb writing.  She could tell a story with the finest of the fanfic writers.  She was simply one of the best writers of any genre to ever take the characters so loved by the Herc/Xenaverse Nation and weave them into stories.  Period.  

Tham knew that I rarely read any slash and was (and am) a dedicated het/ gen lover.  But she also knew that I read hers for the superb writing and admired her work immensely.  We joked many times that she knew that I skimmed through the explicit slash sex scenes in her stories with a grimmace on my face when they involved Ares!  One of our favorite long-standing jokes was Iphicles's orange hair in "War Wounds".

Even though she wrote very little het in her later years, she knew how much I had always loved the het she wrote early on, particularly her wonderful "Songs My Grandmother Taught Me", which I nominated in a fanfic contest as one of the best Herc/Xena gen stories ever written.  As a special birthday present to me one year, she sent me a story she had written especially for me, after a discussion we had about whay would have happened if just once, Xena had given in to Ares.  It was originally written as a private gift from a special friend, but it was so wonderful that I encouraged her to submit it to several fan fic archives and has since become one of the best loved of her stories.  There can be no greater tribute to a writer like Tham than to be remembered for her work - the work that gave so many readers so much pleasure and so much inspiration.  As my lasting tribute to my friend Tham, I am posting the story link here.

Rest well, my friend.  Your battle is over now and you've won the peace you deserve.  I am a better person and a better writer for having known you and your work.  You will be very missed in your many fandoms, but you will always be with me when I read your stories and remember you as a superb storyteller and as a friend who always had my back.

Clink below to read "Vibrations of a Bell" - Thamiris


I met Tham online so long ago, when the KSmithares list was having that war over chocolate sauce... *shakes head*. Thanks to that list I got to meet so many wonderful people who have become truly great, close friends now - including you. For that I will be forever grateful to Tham.

I only met Tham once in person when she passed through my hometown for a slash con and I hosted a get together for listsibs who were also attending. We had had a huge disagreement a few days before and I had no idea what to expect when she visited. All I remember now is a bit of awkwardness, followed by the two of us looking at each other behind a group of our listsibs and a smile that passed her face as we both agreed in silence that the arguement had been stupid. We began laughing in stereo and I know no one else knew why. That is the Tham I am remembering now.

I never knew why we completely stopped speaking and it really doesn't matter now. I hope she is at peace.

Nice rememberances of her. You're absolutely right that besides her writing, one of the very best things about her was the way she stepped in during all that sillines so long ago and started the ksares list where we all became such good friends. I remember her emailing me and saying "Bella, what if I just start another list?" That was the start of it all for us.

It's funny how things that seemed so important at the time fall away with perspective in a time like this.

Love ya!
Oh no. I've not been to LJ in a week and to see this... I didn't know Thamiris at all except for a short period I was on KSA (slash wasn't my thing), but I knew of her. I had no idea she was battling breast cancer. My stomach just rolled over when I read your post, Bella. How terrible, and how sad for her family. I'm so sorry.
Hiya hun!

Tham and I had some serious disagreements over the years and she was not happy with either me or Karesia when we broke away from KSmithAres to found a strictly het/gen list, Altar_of_Ares. But in time, she understood that KSmithAres had become all slash and the het fic just wasn't welcome there anymore.

She and I patched up our differences and I'm glad we did. She could be harsh and judgemental, but she could also be warm and supportive. More than anything else, she was a brilliant writer and storyteller.
In the last few yrs., we had gotten to a place in our friendship where we could joke about my distaste for Ares slash and her hate of the dreaded Mary-Sue that she perceived most het to be.

I will miss her very much. The fandom has suffered a great loss and I've lost a good friend.

I'm so sad to hear about this. :( So I read the story (which I hadn't read before) and it was wonderful.

Good journey to Thamiris.

And a fitting tribute here...
Thanks, hun. With Tham being a slash writer, I could never quite convince her that her het and gen fic were every bit as good as her slash. But they were and it meant a great deal to me that every now and then, she'd write a story for me because she knew how much I liked her writing. She's written huge,book-length slash epics which are unbelieveably good, but my favorites of all her work are these two. When she would send me an email about some new slash story that she'd posted and wanted some feedback on, she would always say something like "I know you'll hate this scene between Ares and Iphicles on page xx, so don't give yourself a headache from grimmacing when you read that part." It was a running joke between us for years.

I didn't know Tham, but I remember you talking about her. I'm sorry for your loss and for her family. She will live on in your hearts and memories. (Great stories here... I enjoyed reading them.)
Thanks, hun. I knew she had been fighting the Big C, but didn't know that it was bilateral and a very agressive form of the disease that wasn't responding to any treatments. From what I understand, she knew it was terminal and knew she was going to die, but didn't want to spend what time she had left worrying her friends, so she didn't talk about it much.

The thing that really sticks with me is that for many years, she was a heavy smoker and was always trying to quit, but never completely did. She'd post in her journal that she was giving it another attempt and we'd all cheer her on, but she never quite gave it up completely and fell back into smoking. I can't help buy wonder if that long history of heavy smoking may have contributed to her cancer in some way.

Love ya, LOTS!
I will miss her, greatly. Though she can now talk to Kevin and keep him company.

I don't pay as much attention to LJ these days as I used to, and by god how I regret that now. I'm only just now hearing about this and it's like being punched in the gut.

Tham was my best friend in the fandom back in the late 90s. She got me into it, into the Ksmithares list, even got me to eventually like Iphicles, despite the hair. And that was such a runnng joke, Iphicles vs. Strife, the bad dye job vs. the pale worm; god that was funny. But always good natured.

Yeah, she was definitely opinionated and held some damn strong opinions, but we always got along, probably because I was just as much of a rabid slasher.

We drifted apart when I left the fandom back in 2000, but she was the one who helped reel me back in three years later. She gave me an LJ code, welcomed me back and I wish to god we hadn't drifted apart again. But she was into Smallville and the Herc-Xena fandom was so tiny. Some of us never left it, but some, like her, moved on and did awesome things in other fandoms.

I can't even begin to say how much I miss her right now. I wish I'd known, I would've sent her a letter, said something somehow so she'd know I was still thinking about her, that I always will. She's been on my mind so much lately and I'll always remember her.