It's such a sad day in the literary world as we've learned that famed author Tom Clancy has passed away at the age of 66.

Tom Clancy has long been one of my favorite authors as is evident to anyone who walks into my home and sees my complete collection of Clancy books. My love affair with Clancy's work began in high school when I picked up a copy of "Clear and Present Danger" at a garage sale. I knew I was hooked on Clancy's style of writing when I stayed up all night to finish the book and then hungered for more so saved up my babysitting money to buy his other books.  Since then, I've bought each book that Clancy has published and I've read each front to back, completely and totally sucked into each story line.

I used to write a lot when I was in high school and college and even a little bit after that, but the very best story I ever wrote was in 1998 and it was after reading the book "Hunt for Red October." I was so absorbed in the book that my head was soon filled with story line ideas and as soon as I finished the book, I picked up a pen and paper, laid on my bedroom floor and in an hour had completed a short story called "Jeffery" which won me several writing awards through local and small print. That wouldn't have happened if not for Tom Clancy.

Several of Clancy's books were turned into successful films including: "The Hunt for Red October." "The Patriot Games," "Clear and Present Danger" and "The Sum of All Fears."

According to his publicist, Clancy died at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, not far from his home following a brief illness, although we don't know what that illness was.