Cover Reveal

I’m so happy – even if I’m a little late posting – to introduce the new cover for S.I. Hayes contemporary romance, Heart of Stone.  She is also the authors of other great novels: Centuries of Blood: Becoming and the In Dreams series; The Solitary Road, The Unavaidable Road. The Savage Road,

Title: Heart of Stone

Release Date: November 27, 2015

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Blurb:

Donnella Stone is as her name describes, cold, powerful and rich. She is a true Manhattan Blue Blood. This has left her with a problem, the men in her life have often only come for what they can take form her, and it has never been her heart.

To protect herself she has rules and a non-disclosure agreement for all of her relationships with men, she gets what she needs, and promises opportunity, means and her silence once the length of the arrangement ends. It has worked for a decade.

Until she meets Matthew Mayfield, an adorable, awkward artist from Connecticut whose work and passionate attitude instantly intrigue her. The problem? He takes more of an interest in her, than any man she has met before.

Can he get past the dragon and heal her heart of stone or will her past be too much for him to handle, leaving them both on the wayside?

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Links:

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Bio:

Shannon (S. I.) Hayes has been telling tales for so long as she has been able to talk, and began writing them down shortly thereafter. She is the singular author of the In Dreams… Series, and a Paranormal Historical Romance called Centuries Of Blood: Becoming. Shannon is the Co-Author to Awakenings: The Wrath Saga, a Paranormal Drama likened to Big Brother meets The Real World of the Preternatural, as well as several blogs and host to her own website. S.I.Hayes.com.

In her own words… I have a mind that is easily distracted and prone to wandering. Tangents are my forte, and if you think my characters are going to fit a cookie cutter shape of any kind, think again. They live, they love, they eat, sleep and f***. I believe that people are inherently sexual creatures and my characters be they human or something altogether else are no exception.

I don’t adhere to a single genera, I toe the line on several and wouldn’t presume to be a master of any. So I suppose you could call me jack-of-all-trade-paperbacks.

I am a truth seeker, in my life, in my work. I’d apologize for it, but I kinda cannot help m’self. It is my best and worst personality trait, well mostly, being Bi-Polar I guess you could say that is the worse. But I believe that the disorder has made me, well… Me.

I have taken this life and twisted, carved, shaped and molded it in to the worlds of my characters. Albeit with a chainsaw, and it has made all the difference

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

“Just make it happen, God damn it! I don’t care how, bribe someone for all I care! Just get me my fucking paintings!”  Donnella Stone slammed the phone into its cradle, collapsing back into her chair. It spun a half turn, facing her toward the glass windows. She stared at the Manhattan skyline through tinted glass. Loving how it looked as the sun peeked through the late morning clouds over the Empire State Building. She exhaled deeply, trying to remember her anger management training. “One… Two… Three… Deep breaths…” She pushed a long red tendril of hair from her face as it fell from her usually well maintained up do. She pulled the octopus clamp from her hair letting the curls fall down her porcelain back and shoulders, releasing some of the tension brewing in her now pounding head. “Better.” She whispered more calmly, rubbing the back of her neck. She heard a small squeak behind her and turned back in her chair, to see her administrative assistant Harold still sitting in the chair opposite her desk, pen in hand waiting for her notes for the morning.

He did not seem to be miffed in any way by her outburst or her need to take a few moments to rejoin him in reality. In fact he rather liked seeing Donnella taking a moment to unwind and let her hair down. As she so infrequently did either. A small smile crossed his lips as she cleared her throat, putting her hair back up.

“Okay, Harold, where was I before we were so rudely interrupted by rubbish?” She asked her pale green eyes settling on him and his Brooks Brothers suit once more. She loved that he dressed so well for the office. It said something about how he felt about his job. Not to mention how well she paid him and the rest of the staff. She knew she could be a bit of a dragon, and paid to the effect, it kept lawsuits for psychological scarring to a minimum.

“You were saying that you didn’t want to go to the Governor’s Christmas Party stag this year. Which means picking from the pool, or finding a new suitor within a month, Miss Stone.”

Donnella blew air through her vermillion lips. “Let’s see what I can find. I’m bored with Samuel and Claude. See if Wyden is available. ”

“Need I remind you his contract ran out two weeks ago so you sent him to Florence for good behavior?”

“Ahh… That’s right.” She smiled standing up, sliding her French manicured toes into a pair of four and one half inch black leather heels with fire engine red soles.

“Are those the Louboutin’s?” Harold asked as she rounded the desk, with a smirk.

“They are. So eat your heart out.”

“The Dorothy’s would be all over you.” He smiled. “You have a meeting downtown in forty-five. Should I have the car brought around now or will you be driving your self today?”

“Bring the car, and you can come too, I’m stopping by the Studio before lunch, I want to make sure that those paintings have the right lighting. Can’t be too careful with Rembrandt.”

***

Matthew Mayfield opened his eyes, and climbed out of bed, scratching his ribs he looked bleary eyed at the clock. 9:07 A.M.

“Shit.” He spat getting up tripping over his stonewashed jeans on the floor. Falling to the ground he watched as his pit bull terrier mix Pepper cocked her head at him in confusion as she gnawed on his sneaker. “Pepper! No!” He lamented crawling across the floor reaching out for the shoe and the rapidly growing twelve week old puppy. She picked up and ran, shoe in mouth out the bedroom door. He got up, pulling on his jeans. “I don’t have time for this.” He mumbled, looking for his work boots, his standby shoes. They were covered in paint and cement from work, but at least they weren’t slimed and chewed.

Pulling on a moderately clean shirt, he grabbed his jacket and portfolio, hoping that the Listerine wisp would take care of his breath. “Janet? Can you walk her! I’m already gonna be late!” He pleaded to the thin brunette sitting on the couch in their shared apartment watching the cartoon network, smoking a clove cigarette with a beer in the other hand.

“Yeah, sure. Hey where you headed, anyhow?”

“I got that meeting at that gallery in the Village remember?”

“Awe, yeah, man, good luck. You better hurry or you’ll miss the train.”

“I know!” He ran out the door, hearing Pepper whine, he stopped and turned back picking the puppy up. “Daddy’s gotta go. But I promise I’ll take you to the park after. If this goes well, we’ll have a lot to celebrate.” He kissed her on her pink little nose, putting her down and was out the door.

***

“No, you don’t understand.” Matthew insisted. “I had an appointment. Matthew Mayfield, for one thirty. I came all the way from Connecticut for this!”

“Sir keep your voice down. Show a modicum of decorum would you? Even if you’d had, this appointment.” The receptionist looked him up and down. Paint covered tan work boots, long legs covered by dingy stonewashed jeans, a sweater tucked haphazardly into them, covered by a long leather jacket. The only thing appealing about him was his face, but even that was absconded by dark horned rimmed glasses. “It’s well passed two now. Neither Mr. Walsh nor Miss. Stone have the time for you if you cannot make the time for them. So if you please.”

“If I could just leave this with you.” He pulled out his portfolio, nervously, as the clattering of doors swinging open assaulted his ears followed by shouts.

“Get it done!” A woman’s voice demanded. The power and the echo, caused Matthew to lose his grip on the portfolio and the contents of it fell to the floor.

The receptionist, sighed heavily, and got up quickly seeing Donnella, as she came from the showroom. “You idiot. Are you trying to get me fired?” The receptionist barked. Trying to help him pick up the photos splayed across the floor.

Matthew ignored the irate girl, as he was for the second time that day crawling across a floor. “Fuck me.” He whispered under his breath. As he reached for a photo, only to have his hand nearly stomped on by a black heel with a red sole. He drew his eyes trailing up the curves of the leg to a black flounced hem. He pushed himself backward, embarrassed, and stuttering an apology as the woman bent down to pick up the photo under foot.

***

Donnella’s eyes surveyed the photo, it was of an African American woman, nude, arms crossed plumping the high points of her chest but hiding the nipples, the rest was turned so the shadows fell to mask her lower region, which accentuated the curve of her hip, down to the metal and plastic prosthetic that was her foreleg. Behind her in the distance was a torn and tattered American flag, and the message Remember Us…

She looked over the top of the photo to the young man still sitting on the ground. “Is this yours?” She raised an uncertain eyebrow.

“Y-Yes ma’am.” He sputtered, as he was helped to his feet by two very large men in dark suits, who did not unhand him.

Donnella waved her hand at them lightly and they released him. “Do you have more like this?”

He nodded. “Stephanie? Pencil him in. I’m taking my lunch now, I’ll see him after I’ve finished. Harold, clear my afternoon.” She looked at the young man again. Not completely unfortunate.

Harold glanced over his shoulder with a nod. “Yes, Ma’am. Right on it.”

***

“Who was that?” Matthew asked stunned as he pushed the last of his photos back into the portfolio.

That? That was Donnella Stone.”

Matthew’s eyes widened, and his mouth dropped open, “I thought she’d be older.”

“Everyone always does…” Stephanie grumbled. “You can have a seat over there. When she comes back, she’ll let me know if she hasn’t forgotten you.”

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Wednesday’s Writing & Words with Charles Ray

Today on Wednesday’s Writing & Words, I’m excited to introduce Charles Ray, author of Frontier Justice. 

 

 Frontier Justice:  Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal

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When the Civil War ended, runaway slave Bass Reeves returned to Arkansas, married his sweetheart, and started raising a family. Unable to read or write English, but proficient in six Indian languages and an expert with firearms, he was often hired by deputy U.S. Marshals to scout when they sought fugitives in Indian Territory. When President U.S. Grant appointed Isaac Parker federal judge for Arkansas and the Indian Territory, Parker decided to hire African-Americans as deputies because inhabitants of the Indian Territory didn’t trust whites. Reeves was one of several blacks among the 200 deputies Parker deputized, and became the most famous. In a 32-year career, this amazing man captured over 3,000 fugitives and only had to kill 14.

Frontier Justice is a fictionalized account of Reeves’ first two years as a deputy marshal.

 

Interview:

  1. Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself? Are you married? Any kids? Where do you live?

A:  I grew up in a small town in East Texas. When  I graduated from high school, I joined the army just to get away from it—oh, and to see the world as well. I’m married and have four adult kids and three grandchildren. After spending 20 years in the army, and a further 30 years in the U.S. Foreign Service as an American diplomat there’s no way I could ever fit back into the rural Texas world, so I live in suburban Montgomery County, Maryland, just outside Washington, DC.

  1. What genre do you write? Why do you like that particular type of story?

A:  I write fiction and nonfiction, and because I like reading several genres, I also write more than one. My main fiction, though, is Western/History; a series about the Buffalo Soldiers of the Ninth Cavalry, in the Old West after the Civil War; and a mystery series about a retired army officer who lives in the DC  area and works as a private detective. He hates bureaucrats, politicians, and except for his friend who  works for a firm that has him on retainer, he’s not too fond of lawyers.  I’ve also done a trilogy about the Cold War, a fictionalized account of the life of Bass Reeves, the first African-American deputy US marshal west of the Mississippi, some urban fantasy, and a couple of sword and sorcery stories.  My nonfiction has included a few books on leadership and management and a couple of photo books of my travels. I once taught photography in a junior college, and have worked as a newspaper and magazine photographer/artist.  As to why I like my two main fiction genres—I’ve always been something of a history geek, and I try in my books, even though the events are fictional, to set the historical record straight. In my mystery series, I show how honor and integrity are important, and that in DC, the average people live pretty exciting lives, too.

  1. What are your fondest memories of writing or reading?

A:  When I was a kid, my stepfather’s sister had two sets of encyclopedias—Americana and Britannica—and I was the only person she would let read them. By the time I graduated from high school, I had read every book in both series.

  1. What are some of your favorite authors and books?

A: Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series, Sue Grafton’s Alphabet mysteries, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Louis L’Amour. Some of my favorite books:  The Illustrated Man; I, Robot; A is for Alibi; The Big Chill; John Carter of Mars; The Fire Next Time; Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn; A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. See where I’m going with this? I’m all over the place. I love to read—and with a few exceptions, I’ll read anything (almost).

  1. If you could describe what writing means to you, how would you do so?

A: Writing helps me to make sense of the constant jumble of thoughts whirling around in my mind.

  1. What is your favorite snack & drink while reading/writing?

A: I seldom eat when I’m writing. When I’m reading, I like a peanut butter sandwich (only super crunchy). As to drink, when I feel like being healthy, I drink water. I start each morning with one or two cups of coffee. When I get tired of drinking healthy, I mix a big vodka and tonic or plain vodka on ice.

  1. Which book do you think was best adapted into a movie? Why?

A:  I am Legend, starring Will Smith. Even though the screenplay veered off many of the most  chilling scenes in the book, it stayed true to the intent.

  1. Which book was the least successful adaptation into a movie? Why?

A:  I, Robot, also with Will Smith. It was funny and exciting, but too far from the book which has always been one of my favorites.

  1. Write your favorite quote and explain why you picked it?

A:  “You can only be insulted if you allow it.”  Don’t know who originally said it, but it applies so well to writers. You have to have a lot of self-confidence and a thick skin to write for public consumption. No matter how well you write, there will always be someone who doesn’t like it—for whatever reason. That can only bother you if you allow it to.

  1. Any other things you’d like to share?

A: Being a writer means one really important thing—you write. You should write every day, even if it’s just a grocery list or a list of chores. Never, never, never let someone else convince you that you can’t write, because the truth is, you can.

 

Thanks so much for jouning us today!!

 

 

Author Bio:

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Charles Ray has been writing fiction since his teens. A native of Texas, he left home and joined the U.S. Army when he was 17. After 20 years in uniform, he joined the U.S. Foreign Service, serving as an American diplomat in Africa and Asia until his retirement in 2012. He now lives in Maryland where he is a fulltime writer/photographer. Ray has worked as a newspaper and magazine journalist and has written more than 50 works of fiction and nonfiction, including a popular series about the famed Buffalo Soldiers of the Ninth U.S. Cavalry in the period after the Civil War. He has been a book reviewer for various print publications since the 1970s and does regular book reviews on his writer’s blog, http://charlieray45.wordpress.com (Charles Ray’s Ramblings).

He currently works as a part time lecturer for Johns Hopkins University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and runs a workshop in professional writing for Rangel Scholars at Howard University.

 

 FB page ishttps://www.facebook.com/CharlieRay

Twitter is https://twitter.com/charlieray45