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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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

 From Fairytales to Fiction 

I was around the tender age of 15 when I started reading romance novels. My mother would read a book and if she liked it, she’d then give it to me. I’d always enjoyed reading but was outgrowing the middle grade books and the YA genre wasn’t big back then, at least I’d never heard of it. Not having much money, books weren’t a cost my mother would spend money on anyway, and she never had any time to take me to the library. So I read her cast a ways. Thus was my introduction into the wonderful world of romance.  

Besides being the only books laying around to read, I quickly fell in love with the genre. Romance novels seem to get a bad rap more than likely because of the sex scenes. I’m sure the covers don’t help elevate the genre either. I mean who can take a book seriously when the covers depict handsome, muscular guys with no shirts on, ripping the dress off of a beautiful ladies? Because of the covers the genre actually is nicknamed bodice rippers. Yet these stories were magical in my teenage eyes.

As a child I always loved the fairytales and dreamed of finding my prince charming, or a knight on a white horse. I wanted to be the princess or even Rapunzel trapped in the tower, waiting for her hero to rescue her. I know, I know, that isn’t politically correct and it’s not a feminist view. Women today want to be strong and save themselves, not wait for man to rescue them, but I was only 15!! As a teenager reading romance novels transferred my childhood fantasies into adult ones. I was now reading about real women finding their true loves, not just princesses finding their princes. It gave me hope that someday even I could find a handsome man to marry and we’d live happily ever after.

Okay, I am a hopeless romantic and these novels feed that love, but there really is more to this genre. Fast forward thirty years, I’ve found my guy, albeit not a prince. 😉 I had my beautiful wedding, and we just celebrated our silver anniversary. Our  two kids are now adults.  I’ve lived my fairytale. And now I not only read romance novels but I write them. Why? Because I still love reading about two people falling in love and overcoming all obstacles to be together. The problems that face the hero & heroine is what draws me to a story. If books had plots like  boy meets girl they fall love, get engaged, then get married, I’d stop reading. Yes, I know that is usually how it happens in real life but that is plain boring in a novel. Your characters have to have chaos to make it interesting.  Parents pulling them apart, old flames coming back into their lives, conniving friends, dead spouses coming back to life. Sound too fantastical? Yeah, tyouhat is the point. It’s fiction, the more trouble you make your characters face the more rewarding it is in the end when they finally get to be together.  

Character Development 

Character development is important in every genre but it is especially vital in romance novels. Romances unfold at a slower pace, allowing a lot of room to develop the characters. When making up your characters try to give them a few flaws, if they are too perfect the readers won’t buy it. Give them genuine emotions so the readers can feel and understand why the hero/heroine are doing something. Has the hero done something that the heroine needs to forgive? Make sure you don’t just have her forgive him right away. Draw it out. Make her emotions go back and forth between forgiving and being angry. If you want the reader to believe that she is willing to forgive a lie, betrayal or infidelity, making her actions & emotions realistic help the reader identify. In real life no one says okay I forgive you and that’s it. The road to forgiveness is long and hard.

The more emotional content you add the more invested the reader will be. Feelings fluctuate in real life but they need to be exaggerated in books and movies. A hero/heroine can’t just love. They need to love with their whole heart, their entire being and to the depths of their soul. Simply not liking the main character isn’t enough for the villain. They must hate that person so deeply that anger oozes out of every pore. The circumstances can be real or imagined but the feeling need to be genuine. If you can make the reader understand why the villain hates that person or why the hero/heroine love each other then you will keep the reader’s attention.

Creating Obstacles to Overcome

You also need to create several different obstacles to overcome. One of the worst things I’ve noticed is when a writer tries to use one obstacle to sustain a full length novel. The plot feels too drawn out and the obstacle starts to wane half way through the book. If something else doesn’t happen the reader will lose interest. Obstacles can also add twists to your story. I know that mysteries are known for plot twists but romance novels can be enhanced by good twists as well. The storylines I remember most are the ones where something happened that I didn’t expect for example, in Teresa Medeiors’s Until Dawn. You are half way through the novel when you find out that the heroine is the hero’s ex-girlfriend. While the hero was blind he had no idea that the girl taking care of him now, is the same girl who left him after the accident that blinded him. Once he regained his eyesight they had a lot of issues to work through. I still remember this plot twist years later. It was something different and very unexpected.

The more hot water your characters face the more interesting the novel will be. So what will your characters face today?

      Now for Sale!!

BLURB:

As Megan Black tries to outrun the memories of her past, she soon learns that you can’t run away from trouble. Can she find peace in God and faith to choose the right path? Or will chasing ghosts cause an unforgiving heart that only leads to destruction?

http://www.amazon.com/Unforgiving-Ghosts-ebook/dp/B009A0ABAK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1348035666&sr=1-1&keywords=unforgiving+ghosts