page links

Obitchuary is getting good reviews! I am eating cookies.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Check out reviews for Obitchuary from IndieReader, whose reviewer called the book "a near-perfect blend of sweet, tart, and salty," and ForeWord Reviews, whose reviewer said I have a "ear for dialogue and a deft hand with humor." 

I am pleased. As you might imagine, putting something you wrote up to the mercy of honest critique is only slightly less terrifying than standing naked in front of a panel of Olympic swimmers and saying, "Ok, now all at once, everyone count the cellulite. GO!"

I hope everyone is having a happy holiday season. Mine has been interesting and has involved a lot of hunkering over the cookie tray, crumbs from nutty bars flying left and right.

Don't forget, you can still pick up Obitchuary for your e-reader for 99 cents, or in paperback for the holi-daze.

K, back to cookies.
a near-perfect blend of sweet, tart, and salty. It's an excellent antidote to the stresses of everyday life, a perfect book to curl up with on the couch when the economy or politics have got you down. - See more at:
a near-perfect blend of sweet, tart, and salty. It's an excellent antidote to the stresses of everyday life, a perfect book to curl up with on the couch when the economy or politics have got you down. - See more at:
a near-perfect blend of sweet, tart, and salty. It's an excellent antidote to the stresses of everyday life, a perfect book to curl up with on the couch when the economy or politics have got you down. - See more at:

Glossy magazine pages are the best

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hey, girl, heyyyyy. Look who's in Publishers Weekly Select this month.

RECAP: Times Festival of Reading was fest-tacular

Monday, November 18, 2013

Life! Egads, it gets in the way. I would tell you about it all, except the Internet would run out of space and patience. I'm lucky I still have actual human friends.

Let's stick to something simpler, like an overdue recap: The Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading was a total smash. It was standing room only in my session about Obitchuary. Everyone seemed to laugh in the right spots and ask great questions. One precious child even said, "Are you going to make it into a movie?" Oh, youthful optimism, so bright, so dear. Let me just get Mr. Scorsese on the horn and work that out.

The night before the festival, I attended the official cocktail party, where authors milled around nibbling crudites and miniature meatballs. Inevitably, I ended up in a corner with several winners of the Pulitzer Prize who were kind enough to ask about my book. I ended up with verbal food poisoning, saying things like, "She, like, kills a guy, with like, well, it's wine that tastes like juice." And then I slunk away to the bar to guzzle wine of my own to cope. It was basically the scene from Bridget Jones where she asks Salman Rushdie where the loos are.

But, it all worked out fine!

Here I am outside my session, coyly pointing to my name on the sign (should have shoved it in my purse like Dan Akroyd with the salmon in Trading Places). You like the dress? I got it on sale at Bebe. It made me feel like a crime fighter. 

A couple days post-reading festival, I appeared on Bob Andelman's podcast, Mr. Media. Bob is also a client at DGLM and has written many, many books of his own. Back when I was writing obits for the paper, I wrote one about his mother-in-law.

Before we Skyped, Bob gave me very specific instructions not to touch my nose, because that all too often comes off as gold-digging, and not in the marrying for money sense, if you smell what I'm stepping in. I agreed heartily to this restriction. I would not touch my nose!

I touched my nose.

Anyway, watch the Mr. Media interview here. We talk about everything from the business of book publishing to the business of newspapering to why reporters all have foul mouths befitting sailors. It's a gas!

Don't forget, you still have 15 days to enter the Obitchuary giveaway at Goodreads. We're doling out 10 signed copies like they're going out of style (but, uh, they're not, of course. Very stylish, always).

There are more exciting things down the pipe, and I promise to also get back to blogging about things that aren't related to the book once stuff has calmed down a little. There is a lot of world out there that needs dissecting, plenty more noses that need touching. I vow to touch them all.

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY! Enter to win a free signed copy of Obitchuary!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Jenny, my cousin, good friend and most enthusiastic reader, wrote me recently to explain why she prefers paperback books to e-books. The smell.

While I think my Kindle smells plenty fresh, I get that for some people, reading is a ritual that employs all (or some?) of the senses. Book pages can be a tasty aperitif for the nostrils, you dig? If you want to get in on this book-smelling action with Obitchuary, but don't want to fork over that equally-smelly cash, we have a solution. For the next month, we're hosting a giveaway at Goodreads. Ten lucky readers will win a signed paperback copy, mailed directly to you! Enter here:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Obitchuary by Stephanie Hayes


by Stephanie Hayes

Giveaway ends December 04, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

And if you happen to love the smell of your e-reader in the morning, don't forget the e-book is still 99 cents through the end of the year. Good luck and best wishes in all your olfactory pursuits.

Don't miss the Times Festival of Reading Saturday!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Come one, come all, to the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading Saturday (that's tomorrow!). The event happens on and around the campus of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. I'll be speaking in the adjacent Poynter Institute in the Bob Haiman Amphitheatre starting at 10 a.m. I'll be signing books after in Poynter, so be sure to swing by the book sales table at the festival and get a copy if you don't have one!

There has been lots of nice buildup to the event. There was an excerpt from Obitchuary in the Times last Sunday, with an adorable headline giving a nod to Penny's suffering liver.

I read a chapter for Florida Matters on WUSF, our local NPR affiliate, too! Listen to the show here, which includes some great snippets from other festival authors and an insightful interview with Colette Bancroft, Times book editor and brainchild behind the festival.

As for that book release party? Well, as goes life, it fell horribly to pieces when I least expected. The venue had a problem with the fact that I'd be selling books (uhhhh). Despite our best efforts to explain that we were not selling timeshares or snake oil, they just pictured:

We were bounced out at the last minute. But, some of my best friends still crashed my house for a makeshift signing, which honestly might have been better anyway.

Wine and cupcakes. Better than cocaine tooth drops.

Hope to see you all at the reading festival Saturday! I'll post some pictures from the event soon.

Grouponing the Globe: Jamaica edition

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Tomorrow marks Phase III of my Plan To See The World Via Crowd Savings Websites, which, now that I write it out, would make a great reality show. At 7 a.m., we're flying to Ocho Rios, Jamaica for five days, to one of those all-inclusive resort places that's like Sandals, minus Jan Levenson-Gould and Michael Scott.

Being that it's hurricane season and whatnot, Groupon was practically giving this one away, and who was I to shun? I know what you're thinking. "Steph, as a print journalist and independent fiction writer, you must be extraordinarily wealthy." Common misconception, I know.

This is the third time Jim and I have traveled using a Groupon or a similar device. The first time, I blindly booked a vacation home in Sonoma Valley from Living Social, going on faith, recklessness and general miser behavior alone. I didn't receive the physical address until the week before (I know, I know), and when I looked at the Google street view, there was a rusted chainlink fence and a car out front that looked like it had been on blocks since 1974. "Well," I said, "at least there will be wine."

It was actually fantastic, roomy, comfortable, with heated floor tiles in the bathroom that I thought were really cool (I am a simple creature). Even though it was February, known in wine country as "PLOW THE DEAD VINES" season, I was just like:

That wine in the picture was part of the Living Social vacation bundle, explaining the look of peace and true spiritual clarity on my face.

Earlier this year we went to Niagara Falls, a fulfillment of my childhood dream to get really, really close to a lethal water feature. But, being yet again the off-season, it was so cold they delayed opening the damn boat. THE BOAT! Imagine getting all the way there and NOT GETTING ON THE GODFORSAKEN BOAT. But as soon as the sun came out, we slipped on the Maid of the Mist, motto, "Our ponchos are made of fairy tears," and only suffered mild hypothermia. Worth!

So, anyway, I'm expecting big things from Jamaica! It's supposed to rain every day, but I suspect it'll just make for more delightful anecdotes, or at least the chance to use the phrase "Jamaica Mistake-a." Thanks, Groupon!

When I get back, it'll be all Obitchuary, all the time! My book release party is coming up, and then right after that is the Times Festival of Reading, Oct. 26, at USF St. Petersburg. I speak at 10 a.m. and sign books after. BE THERE!

And don't forget, Obitchuary is still 99 cents to download to your handy-dandy e-reader on all platforms! And the paperback is now available through Amazon, too, so everything is in one place. The book will make a great beach read when you're on your Groupon-cation holding onto your lawn chairs during Tropical Storm Bane, screaming at your husband, "THE INTERNET IS THE DARK ARTS."

See you in a week, friends!

Obitchuary is here: Time to break in your book!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It's here! It's here!

Here are some ways you can buy a copy of Obitchuary today. Remember, the digital download is 99 cents for 90 days, and after that, it goes up to $2.99 (still less than a box of snack cakes). The paperback is $12.95.

Pick your poison:

Barnes and Noble online!

It will also be on iTunes and Sony any minute now, so stand by if those are your preferred e-book sites. The paperback version hasn't synced up with Amazon yet (it is snoozing, taking a load off), but it will in a few days, so one-stop shopping will be easy. For today, you can definitely use the link above if you just gotta have that paper in your hands.

If you have a minute to spare when you're done reading, please leave a customer review on Amazon or Goodreads. It will help GREATLY with sales, Kindle rankings and overall street cred at various bars around town, so it's a really big deal. If you're my mom, use a clever code name like, "Schmom."

We'll have more paperback copies for sale at the 21st Annual Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading Oct. 26 in beautiful St. Petersburg, Florida, where I will be one of the "authors" who will be "speaking" and "signing." This is a huge honor, as I've spent the last five years INTRODUCING fancy authors who speak at the festival, not BEING one. My experience as a festival participant up until now has been, "The cheese niblets and spring water bottles are here, and the bathrooms are around the corner. Can I get you a slice from the sandwich ring?" So, this will be an astounding turn of events.

Stay tuned for more information about my speaking/book signing time slot. But if I were you, I'd plan to come for the whole day if you can. Check out all the fantastic authors who will be there! Also, there's usually snacks and frozen lemonade, and as a human with a soul, you're going to want some of that.

With that, UNLEASH THE KRAKEN. It's book time.

Obitchuary pre-orders now available!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Oh, hey, fancy new website. You're cute. Come here often?

Thanks to Maggie at type & title for the GLORIOUS web design. She's a true artist who drew and lettered everything by hand, staying authentic to my broken heel and spilled wine way of life while at the same time polishing everything up. I love it. Have a look around, take your shoes off, stay a while.

Some of you have asked me about how to pre-order Obitchuary, which officially comes out Tuesday, Oct. 1. Good news! You can pre-order a digital download copy NOW through Kobo! It will be ready to go everywhere else on Tuesday, in paperback and download.

A NOTE: I should have made this more clear, but IF you want a paperback version, you will have to order it online through Amazon for right now. You will be able to order the e-book for Nook through, Barnes and Noble's online store, but for the moment, you can't pluck it off a shelf while enjoying a mocha latte. By all means, though, buy it online and then go take it to the cafe, because this book LOVES mocha lattes!

Thank you everyone, so much, for all your support and happy words. This process is a lot of hard work, but so much fun, and I really hope you like what you read. I think I have officially read this thing 67 times now, and I don't know my nose from my fist at this point. So I'm excited to get some fresh takes.

I'm off to a river house somewhere in Florida for a weekend "writing retreat," which translates to "margaritas." Wifi will be questionable at best, but I'll be back Sunday night to drop more Obitchuary wisdom on your faces. Until then.

Obitchuary proof copy derp time!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Few things are more surreal than seeing the mass of words you've been plinking away at on a laptop finally printed on pages and bound together with actual glue.

Proof copy showed up today! Gotta make a couple tweaks, but it's so close. I should have some info soon about pre-orders (for those of you who just can't wait a whole week).

Oh, and say hello to my natural hair color there around the forehead! I have been trying to get my roots touched up for literally a month now and have to keep rescheduling. My hair is falling off my priority list, and it's like I don't know who I am or what I stand for.

Here's the back! The winey headshot is by my wonderful friend, Desiree Fantal.

BIG NEWS: Obitchuary publication date and cover reveal!

Monday, September 23, 2013

This is the most exciting news ever.

My novel, Obitchuary, is coming out October 1 via Amazon, Barnes and Noble online, Apple, Kobo, Sony, Smashwords and all the others. A real book. That you can download. Or hold in your hands. AND READ.

We'll be offering the digital download for 99 cents for 90 days to kick things off, so I hope you'll take advantage of the deal (that's the contents of your couch cushions, y'all) and spread the word. I'll have lots of links for you soon.

I've been working fairly quietly for a while (a foreign and uncharted experience for me) to get to this point, taking care to make the right choices. After lots of talks with my agent, I chose to publish with an assist from the brains at Dystel & Goderich, and their digital publishing program. It has worked out well for many authors they represent, and it's a best of both worlds situation for me. I have representation and guidance from professionals who know what the heck they're doing and will answer my frantic emails that read something like, "Dur hurr, derp herp derp merp help," yet I still maintain control over everything, drunk with power.

To get ready, this website is getting a huge makeover to time with the release. Stay tuned for that! But to wet your whistle, I want to go ahead and unveil the cover, designed by the incredible Jennifer DeCamp.


It's so gorgeous I want to pass out.

A refresher about the book:

Penny Perkins, journalist, upstanding citizen, dutiful bridesmaid, just killed her date. Smashed him on the head with a bottle of Misty Mangoberry Merlot.

She is tipsy and panicked. She is wearing a heinous pink bridesmaid dress that makes her irrational. Penny knows she should call the cops and explain her date's grabby hands, his crazy eyes. She should cry self-defense. She should do a lot of things she doesn't do.

Things are about to get real complicated for Penny, as her dead date's life unravels into a mystery the deeper she investigates. Death just happens to be her job.

She's the newspaper's obituary writer.

Sleeping with the frenemy

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Time was, a person slept near her alarm clock, an object tethered to the socket in the wall. At the very least, stopping it required the initial physical effort of rolling over, which is an excellent start to getting out of bed. A college try.

Now, we sleep with our alarm clocks. We cradle them, hold them close, finish the day staring into them. "I'll just spin through Pinterest one last time," we say, and two hours later we are repinning "25 ways to get Heinz 57 stains out of your jorts," unclear where we are or how we got there.

Then we drift softly to slumber.

The modern alarm clock is inside our "devices," along with the telephone, the internet, the camera, the calorie counter, the 5K trainer, the bank account, the MP3s, the game with the birds, the Groupons, the Urban Spoon, and the breakup letter to the therapist we suspect is overcharging but maybe that's just our chronic self-defeat speaking so we probably shouldn't send it.

My alarm of choice on the iPhone is "Marimba," reminiscent of a steel drum band you might find in Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style.

Jim, taking a more utilitarian approach to the matter, favored the one unceremoniously called "ALARM," the grade of foghorn that sounds when, say, white tigers are escaping an animal sanctuary. It's like...


It made me shoot up in a cold sweat convinced the house was burning down, trying to remember what exactly happens with backdraft but only able to picture scenes from Apollo 13.

"Perhaps there is another option," I suggested.

There are lots-o options, from "Crickets" (poor strategy for waking up) to "Doorbell" (only if the Chinese food is here, plz) to "Duck" (why?). He settled on "Sonar," which sounds like icicles falling through space and is rather pleasant.

Our alarms fire at different times each morning, creating a bush league iPhone symphony of "PLINK PLINK ZACK MORRIS PLINK" and "ZWEE ZWEE ICY COOL FRESH ZWEE."

The snooze button on the screen is red and easy to access, especially when it's right there on the pillow and I barely have to open an eye. Round about the sixth or seventh "ZWEE ZWEE MARIO LOPEZ" when things are getting weird, I make a real effort to wake up. That is done, of course, by looking at something in the Device of Broken Dreams. The first stop is usually Facebook, which is a usually a mistake.

That's when it gets tricky.

Looking at someone's sunrise Instagram is still not enough to rouse me. So while falling back asleep dreaming of the Horrors of the Leather Industry PSA someone on Facebook I haven't spoken to in 12 years Rickrolled me into clicking, "ZWEE VIKTOR PETRENKO" goes off again, only this time it's like.

By now, the phone has slid into the covers, lost between the comforter and the fitted sheet that buckles into pockets of robbery. I flap through the layers of cotton like a blind baby bat while the phone is all "PLINKY PLINKY I'M FROM HELL PLINKY I'M HERE TO KILL YOU PLINKY." I find the alarm clock, shaking, and stop it once and for all.

And then I'm up!

The way to solve all this is to relocate the iPhone to so I have to move the first time it goes off. Maybe to nearby table. I try that, but it's so portable that I usually end up staggering back to bed with it, and the whole shame spiral starts again.

Recently we took another spin through the alarm options and discovered you can set any song on your phone to wake you up. Jim set it to Girls by the Beastie Boys, thinking it was a cheerful summertime classic tune that would set a great tone for the day. Super choice. It was done.

Twenty minutes later, the song went off unexpectedly during Mad Men like "DO DOO DOO DING DA-DING-DING." and we started screaming bloody murder until it stopped.

The only appropriate iPhone alarm is Sabotage.