As I'm getting back into writing, and working to rejuvenate Martinus Publishing, I've decided that one of the best ways to get back into the groove is to bring back the ever fun and popular "writing shootout" contest, which has produced amazing stories and brought many great writers into my life. You can read all about the shootout here, and there are still a few slots available for writers who want to throw their hat into the ring (sign-ups end January 13, 2017).
Now, a sad bit of news hit me after first inviting some former participants to the contest. I learned that Nye Joell Hardy, a fellow writer and shootout participant, died in 2016.
I first "met" Nye online back in 2010, when we were both Pill Hill Press writers. Her book, The Crows of Bedu, was released right before The Guns of Mars, and we participated in several PHP shootouts together. After Pill Hill Press closed, we stayed in touch somewhat, mostly during the Martinus Publishing shootouts that I hosted.
While I can't say that I knew Nye very well on a personal level, she was there to voice support and cheer me up when I needed it. I remember a few times that her encouragement helped me through dark times, and I did what I could to support her, as well. Her writing talent left me always wondering why she hadn't seen greater success in the fiction publishing field.
Nye's stories were always fun to read during the shootout. You never knew where she'd go with a prompt. Sometimes, she'd write something very traditional and captivating, and others she'd invent something absolutely unique and experimental (like a story about sentient flowers). This meant that her scores during a shootout could vary, but her stories never failed to entertain me.
One of Nye's shootout stories was the impetus for the now defunct anthology, The Secret Life of Ghosts. I hadn't thought of doing a ghost story anthology until Nye wrote an incredibly haunting tale, and I wanted to publish it. So, I planned the story collection and would have published it, if personal problems hadn't derailed things. It seems sadly fitting that the anthology was put to rest about the same time that Nye passed.
Nye's death haunts me a little, thinking of my own plight, and how any of us will be remembered. It's funny how much of an impact someone can have on your life, even an acquaintance three thousand miles away that you never met in person. It's a difficult thing to face. The writing world is a darker place without her imagination, and it is so sad that I'll never have the pleasure of seeing her creativity at work again.
I had the pleasure of publishing several of her stories over the years, though the best one I have in-print can be found in Yarr! A Space Pirate Anthology. It was an amazing story that earned her the win during a previous shootout.
I wish there was something more I could say, but I guess that's about it, for now.