Sunday, 9 March 2014

A TRIBUTE TO THE LATE, GREAT AJ HAYES (BILL), WHOSE PROFOUND STORIES GRACED THESE PAGES AND MANY MORE...


With a very heavy heart, and with AJ's wife's blessing, we hand you over to his close friend, Richard Godwin...


"AJ Hayes, exceptional crime writer, poet, and endless supporter of other writers, sadly passed away at 3 AM West Coast time on Saturday 8th March. He was battling lung cancer with the kind of courage that is an example to us all. He was an omnivorous reader, a man who deeply understood literature in its many forms, and who always had time for other writers. His kind words, and wise encouragements were widely appreciated. He will be sadly missed."


Tributes from the Editors...


From Col Bury:
"I'm so proud to call AJ (Bill) a friend. He was a selfless gent with boundless wisdom and great wit, and was one helluva writer to boot. His classic short, DARK GENESIS gleaned the most comments (and most 'wows') on this site in 2012. He was always on hand with unwavering encouragement and pertinent advice. I'll always cherish meeting him and his lovely wife, Thury, down in London (sincere condolences to you and your family, Thury). The writing community will ensure that AJ Hayes lives forever. R.I.P. mate."


From Matt Hilton:
"Sadly I never had the pleasure of meeting AJ Hayes in life, but I did have the opportunity of discovering his incredibly atmospheric, poetic skill as a writer through the pages of Thrillers, Killers 'N' Chillers, where I recall his "Dark Genesis" tale evoked a buzz for its incredible and sheer poetic inventiveness. Not only was AJ a real talent when it came to writing, but he was incredibly open and supportive of his fellow authors, regularly offering feedback at the site that was thoughtful and meaningful, and I'm certain his advice went a long way in making better writers of us all. His sage words and advice are a legacy many of his friends and peers will remember AJ for."

From Lily Childs:

"An outstanding writer in the Noir and crime genres, it was my absolute pleasure to publish AJ Hayes, ‘Bill’ on Thrillers Killers ‘n’ Chillers. Not only was Bill a unique voice in the genre, he also spent his valuable time supporting and promoting the writers he believed in. To say he will be missed is an understatement. I wish his family and friends peace and send them my sincere condolences."

From David Barber:

"AJ was a gent in the truest meaning of the word, always there to give advice and inspiration. He was a true professional when it came to the writing game and was also a fine editor in his own right, having taken the time to edit and enhance a couple of stories and a poem of mine recently. The man in the fedora will be greatly missed, not only by his family and friends but also by the online community who he helped and inspired over the years. R.I.P. Bill Hayes."

From Absolutely Kate:
"The 'Fedora Fella' was, IS and ever shall be the razz-a-ma-tazz and every bit of the smoothest, smokiest jazz to how I write and think and love and laugh, and even wear my own fedora. We share authors saluting all the good stuff in authors, the grittiest crime tales crunching delight outta our keyboards and the most gloriest music heard between all the right lines. AJ ~ Bill ~ and 'Clyde' in good 1940's lingo to me is an extra part of why my heart grows. Here's my Tribute reveal: In ANGEL TOUGH, from Matt Hilton's 'ACTION: Pulse Pounding Tales', I created the ongoing character Doc Aloysious Jeremiah Nelson to honour our friend and authorly colleague. Angel said she'd just call him Doc because all those other AJ names were too much a mouthful to say quickly, but she'd know his essence for all of time itself. As I type this - "It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing" is playing now. I know the Guardian Angel under the fedora... just made it so. Love you, man, with all that swing."

Read AJ Hayes' classic short story, DARK GENESIS here.


And please feel free to leave your own tributes in the comments.

38 comments:

  1. AJ, you were very decent and cool, and you'll always be with us in your words.

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    1. ALWAYS in our worthiest of words, good Liam. Always. That's one of the places he lingered best.

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  2. This is the saddest of news. I apologize for my lack of eloquence, but shock and tears seem to prevent it. He was such a great writer and a generous friend to me and to all of those around him. I wish I had thanked him more often. I will remember him for the rest of my days.

    -Lady NOLA (the nickname he gave me)

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    1. Lady NOLA -- We shoulda done that trip together down N'Orleans way. When we're together we'll tribute him with us, OK? I kinda think he'd like two dames, one wearin' all the swanky hats, shoutin' him out. He dug your style, big time, Lady.

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    2. Lady Kate, let's make that trip in creating the beautiful tribute you suggested today. I'm going to make hats for us both and we're going to give him the best send-off- something sublime and timeless... a gift for him and all of us. Thank you for being so strong in this difficult time. It truly helps us all and I think he's winking at you.

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  3. I imagine I'm not the only one at a loss for words upon hear about AJ's passing. He was so supportive of me, always. I'm just so sorry to hear about this. My thoughts and love go out to Thury, his wife, who was always right by his side.

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    1. Holly, I'm thinkin' he was so supportive . . . 'cause he found you, your on-growing talents . . . so deserving. His style, huh?

      ~ Absolutely*Kate

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  4. I'm sadden to hear about AJ. While we weren't close friends/writers, I did cross paths with him at various publications and enjoyed his writing. I know he was a great supporter of other writers and small presses, and this touches us all. Peace to his family and friends.

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    1. That 'great supporter' part was heart and soul in rhythmic time Erin. He made writers higher authors, just by raising the bar -- without you seeing the slight shift in the cosmos. Like so many others, I miss him like crazy. -- and I really miss 'crazy'.

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  5. I'm stunned. This is terrible news.

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  6. He was the most supportive guy...always a positive comment. I didn't have the honor to meet him personally but his character and steady encouragement makes me wish even more that I had. The very best to his family and friends.

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  7. I'm glad I had the chance to know him personally. He was my friend and I will miss him.

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  8. My wife and I will miss him dearly. He was so generous, cheerful and a great man. Rest In Peace, AJ.

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  9. Fking hell, I'm cried out. I feel blessed to have know the man. I fell blessed to have felt his support of my writing. I will miss the hell out of him but endeavor to remain grateful for the time I had with him.

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    1. Me? I'm eternally grateful-Katefull that the big lug forced me finding You when I tiptoed into my first Bouchercon, an Albany ago, Josh. He said, 'you'll know -- you'll know why.'.

      I do now. I don't feel quite so all alone, with my own cry. We share a brother who blessed/blesses us swell.

      ~ Absolutely*Kate

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  10. I am so sick over AJ'a passing. He was a wise, dear friend who always had time for me & was part of the YELLOW MAMA family. He nicknamed me the "goddess of noir." That always made me feel proud. Rest in Peace, dear friend. AJ was truly an angel.

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  11. And my prayers and condolences go out to AJ's wife Thury, & his son and family. I can't imagine what you guys are going through.

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  12. I just heard the sad news. Condolences to AJ's family. He was a hell of a talented guy and one of the most generous spirits in the noir scene, always willing to help his fellow writers and I always appreciated his wry comments and support. I always felt I owed him a drink, or something, for all the praise and help over the years, a debt I was to honour when the stars clicked right and I could attend a noir at the bar or convention or whatnot...sadly it was not to be. He will be missed, genuinely missed. Rest in Peace, amigo mio, and thank you.

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  13. I actually don't know what to say. It's great to see a tribute here. It's also clear that the amount of support and energy that AJ gave to everyone was massive. Practically super-human. I know I felt the support, love and ability from way over here and know that my work is better for him seeing it. I'm sure there are lots of us saying that just now. Now I'm off to shake my fist at the sky.

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    1. You had me at 'super-human' dear Nigel. That about sums it up -- well that and the fist at the sky shaking thing."

      ~ Absolutely*Kate

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  14. My condolences to his family and friends.

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  15. A sad day can only be brightened by the knowledge that his friendship and support touched so many. AJ was a gentleman who always time and kind words of support for others as well as being a terrifically good scribe. Heaven just got a whole lot better.

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    1. Pour me a scotch, single malt, neat, Barkeep? We'll *clink* to all the tough ways AJ's gentleness made us get more and more in our groove.

      ~ Absolutely*Kate

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  16. He was a class act. He'll be missed.

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  17. He was a class act. He'll be missed.

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    1. You're right Angel. That beared repeating.

      ~ A*K

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  18. Man, this is sad news. I remember AJ's near-constant presence on a Twist of Noir. He really did seem to have time for everybody. I'll toast him with coffee now, and something more potent later on.

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  19. Each time we crossed paths online, AJ's warmth and kindness shone. He stood out on the noir scene for his elegant, twisty writing and his constant positivity, always having an enthusiastically supportive word for other writers. This is incredibly sad and a real blow to the community.

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  20. I just saw AJ and his lovely wife Thury at the last Noir at the Bar Los Angeles. They were very sweet people and excellent conversationalists. Aj mentioned that he had taken a break from writing… Elaine Ash

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  21. While most of us writers are always to be found huddled down in depths of the bunker, lost in our own make-believe worlds, AJ was always first over the wire shouting encouragement and praise into every foxhole he chanced upon. His generosity of spirit was unique. So sorry to hear he's gone.

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    1. You nailed that like a bullet in the night, Straight Shooter. AJ would've been all over that comment with a comment. (And he'd admire you the more.)

      ~ Absolutely*Kate

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  22. Bill, it was such a great pleasure meeting your smooth-talking, story-telling self. Turns out it was you that showed us the good time in London a year and a half ago. However did you know so much about so many things, and wherever did you find that Big Ben-sized wristwatch of yours? Memories of that time, your stories, your talks with Richard, all of it will make missing you go on forever.

    And dear Thury, you have a billion years of every kind of memory of Bill and I can only think that makes you the most blessed, gives you all the more to take up a bit of the emptiness anyway… But then again, I can’t conceive of how that all works up against such loss, and so our hearts and thoughts are with you, willing you a way through the dark to the sun.

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  23. Exceptionally sad news — thoughts going out to his family.

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  24. I was fixing to write “R.I.P. you cool dude, Bill,” but resting’s for pussies and I figure he’s already made friends with everyone wherever he’s at, so I’ll change that to “Rock whatever world you’re inhabiting, good friend, and live on and on – love, Lady Night.”

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  25. My wife and I are devastated by Bill's passing, and we send our deepest condolences to his wife, our good friend,Thury. I met Bill in 2001 at a community college writing class. We quickly became friends. He was one of the smartest men I ever met, a witty conversationalist with whom you could talk for hours and hours. He was as generous as they come. We edited each other's works, especially in the early years. He always, always, understood what someone was trying to accomplish in a piece of writing, and he could get to heart of it and tell you what had to be done to make it fly. A terrific writer, adept at stories, poetry, and flash fiction, he was a master of the economy of words. Rarely, if ever, was there a word on that page that did not desperately need to be there.
    I miss you, my friend.
    Ray Nessly
    Note: For those able to attend, family and friends are invited to gather at the Ocean Beach pier in San Diego, on Saturday, May 10th. Time to be announced.

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  26. I'd been away and only just this moment found out about AJ. I can't tell you how said my heart feels. He was a true gentleman who always had an encouraging and supportive word to give you. He will be always in my heart, a true friend sadly missed but never forgotten.

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