Thursday, July 9, 2015

Excerpt & Giveaway - The Last Dreamgirl by Shane Hayes

The Last Dreamgirl

by Shane Hayes 



For every man there’s a girl who grips his imagination and his heart as no other girl ever did or will. She may be in her teens or a mature woman. He responds to her as a boy to a girl. Whether she comes early in his life or late, there is a throne in his subconscious that she takes possession of, without trying, often without wanting to. The image he forms of her reigns there in perpetuity, even if she has left his life, or this life. Her enchantment never fades or fails, and he is never immune to it. She may not be for him the last wife or paramour, but she is the last dreamgirl.



"Look, my mother’s worried sick. I need to go home.” 

“Is home such a happy place?” 

“Yes!” she lied. 

“Then why do you walk through the streets crying every night?” 

“I don’t!” 

“You do! I saw you twice this week. That’s why I picked you.” 

“What? Picked me? What do you mean ‘picked’ me?” 

“That’s why you’re here—because you looked so unhappy.” 

She squinted at him like he was mad. “Are you saying you brought me here to cheer me up?”

“No, not that exactly. I wanted your company. A girl’s company. A girl who was kind of pretty and… unhappy. You were both.” 

She looked confused and angry. “What do you know about my unhappiness?” 

“Not much,” he said, “but I know it’s there. And it’s a little like mine. You seem very shy. People scare you. You’re not comfortable with them. You can’t talk to them. Your nose is always in a book. You read sometimes even in the schoolyard. You hang on to the edge of a crowd, but you’re not really part of it. Like me, you don’t seem to have any friends. When I saw you walk down the street Monday night crying, I knew you were probably unhappy at home too. That clinched it. You were the one. And you were crying again last night when you passed my car.”... 

Sandra’s astonishment had deepened. She hadn’t dreamed anyone would watch her like that. “What do you mean, I was ‘the one’?” 

Ollie hesitated. “The one… I needed,” he ventured. “The one… to be my friend.” 

She was glad he avoided terms of romance or passion. “Because I looked lonely and I cried?” she said.

“You passed the unhappiness test with flying colors.... Please, Sandra, let me get you something. Even if it’s just orange juice or coffee.” 

She said coldly: “The only thing you have that I want is freedom. Offer that and I’ll accept it.” 

Ollie sighed. “That’s not on the menu this morning. But it will be. I promise it will be. Not today, though.” 

Sandra objected. “Not even later today? This afternoon or tonight?” 

“Not till we’ve been friends for a while, Sandra. Absolutely not till we’ve been friends for a while. If you freeze me out, our time of friendship won’t begin. And I won’t let you go till we have it. This will last longer if you don’t cooperate.” 

“What do you mean ‘cooperate’?” 

“Talk with me, read books with me, listen to music with me, look at paintings and sketches with me, tell me about yourself and your life. Let me tell you about myself and my life. Be my friend. Let me be your friend. Share meals with me. Share breakfast now, that’ll be a start.” 

Sandra cried, “I can’t be your friend if you keep me in a cage. I’m your prisoner or your pet, not your friend.” 


AUTHOR Bio and Links: 

A native Philadelphian, Shane Hayes earned his bachelor’s and his law degree from Villanova University, and studied for a year at Princeton Theological Seminary. He worked as a writer/editor for Prentice Hall and an attorney for the federal government. He is married, has four children, and lives in suburban Philadelphia. His nonfiction book The End of Unbelief: A New Approach to the Question of God was released by Leafwood Publishers in the fall of 2014. 

Two young men meet on ship when both are recently out of college. They share a flaming ambition. Each aims to write novels that will be internationally acclaimed and win him a place in American letters. One of them, Paul Theroux, achieves the dream in all its glory: becomes world famous, writes over 40 books, and three of his novels are made into films. The other, Shane Hayes, fails completely, but keeps tenaciously writing, decade after decade, plowing on through hundreds of rejections. Then almost half a century later, Shane contacts Paul, who remembers him, reads three of his books, likes them, and praises them with endorsements. 

In writing to agents and publishers Shane could now say, “Query for a novel praised by Paul Theroux.” No one offers a book deal because of an endorsement, so rejections keep coming. But more people let him send at least a sample and are predisposed to see merit in it. At his age, time is crucial. In the month he turns 75, Shane receives contracts on two of his books from different publishers. He will always be grateful to the literary giant who remembered ten days of friendship half-a-lifetime after it ended. 





Shane Hayes will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.  Follow the tour HERE


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Mary. That's a good start for the day.

  2. Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

    1. I do read them, Mai, without fail. They've all been good so far.

  3. Booklover Sue: This newspaper review just appeared; it will give your blog visitors a quick perspective on the book:


    Published: Wednesday, June 24, 2015 in The News of Delaware County, The Garnet Valley Press, and several other newspapers in the Delco News Network

    By Betty Lou Roselle

    When I was first approached to review The Last Dreamgirl by Shane Hayes, I declined, thinking “What women wants to read a book about a man’s idea of the perfect woman?” When I was again asked to review the book by a valued co-worker, I acquiesced and I’m so glad I did.

    Yes, this is the story about the very handsome Ron Pavone who watches the incredibly beautiful Marisa emerge from the water at the beach in New Jersey and decides she will be his based solely on physical attraction.

    But running parallel to this is the story of Ollie Bower, born horribly disfigured, whose loving parents die when he is in his late twenties. Although wealthy, he’s lonely and aware that he has no hope of meeting a woman who will love him, so he kidnaps his dreamgirl after stalking her for weeks. He chooses her because he senses a sadness in her that he feels will allow her to accept his friendship. Sandra is a very intelligent young woman of faith, who will use her love of God to get her through the ordeal of living in a cage in Ollie’s basement. The sadness that Ollie sensed in Sandra comes from the fact that her brutal uncle has been abusing her. The reader is left to decide which situation is worse for this young girl, especially since Ollie is not demanding anything physically from her and showers her with anything she could want.

    Their lives will intersect with Ron Pavone when he’s hired to investigate Sandra’s disappearance. He is now married to Marisa and constantly cheating on her. We can see he will never appreciate this dreamgirl he pursued with such passion.

    Although we feel sympathy for Ollie, his capture of Sandra drags on for months instead the few weeks he promised her. She has become too important to him, he can’t let her leave.

    I don’t want to give any more of this gripping story away but I finished this book in two days, I couldn’t put it down.

  4. Sue, Thank you for hosting The Last Dreamgirl today on your attractive blog. Shane

  5. Thanks for the excerpt and giveaway!

  6. I liked the excerpt, thank you.

  7. I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

  8. Janhvi, Victoria, Rita, and Patrick,

    Thank you for your favorable comments. Most of you say you were pleased with the excerpt. None of you mentioned the book review. Did any of you read it and did it help you decide whether to read the book? I want to understand your thinking and your reactions. A virtual blog tour is still pretty new to me.

  9. Additional insight by Shane Hayes into his novel The Last Dreamgirl:


    These are some of the themes woven tightly together into the fabric of the plot: A study of Beauty and the Beast. Of dreamgirl fixation. Of shyness, ugliness, brutal bullying. Of friendship, enmity, and love. Freedom lost and found. Faith and unbelief.

    English professor John Rybnik said: “I hated to stop reading when I had to attend to the demands of daily life. I couldn’t wait to get back to see what happened next…. A wonderful sense of place. I leave the book amazed at how casually ‘normal’ human beings can torment those who don’t fit in while feeling no guilt in doing so. I’m struck by how far minor kindnesses can go in the harsh environment of the world’s Ollies. I’m determined to be a kinder, gentler person myself.”


    One of the themes of The Last Dreamgirl is bullying and the profound effect it can have on a child’s personality development. Here’s an excerpt from the Prologue that shows the kind of hostility and rejection that Ollie, the kidnapper, suffered from a very early age. He was five when this scene took place:

    “He was playing — alone as always — with toy soldiers in a little fort he had made at the back edge of the Bower property where the lawn ended and the trees and shrubs of the arboretum began. The two boys were pretending to be Indian scouts stealing invisibly through the forest. When one caught sight of Ollie, he signaled the other to be still. Bush by bush they advanced to about five feet from where Ollie knelt. They made no sound audible to him. He went on with an enthralling fistfight between a metal soldier and a plastic fireman. The imaginative fray involved muttered words and exaggerated facial expressions that changed radically every few seconds.

    “The larger boy, a handsome kid with fine features, prized looks above everything and had never seen anyone as ugly as little Ollie. Beak-nosed, almost chinless, with misplaced eyes close to the perimeter of his face and a weird gap in the middle, the child reminded him of a hideous buzzard in the cartoon illustrations of a fable his mother used to read to him. He found Ollie’s face so ugly, even in repose, as to be an affront; but when Ollie contorted that repulsive face into an expression that deliberately made it uglier, the boy felt a wave of hatred and avenging fury. He picked up a smooth stone about half the size of a golf ball, and hurled it at Ollie’s nose. It bounced off his forehead with a sickening clunk.

    “Ollie literally didn’t know what hit him. His face registered shock and grew violently red. The contact point on his forehead turned white and, as Ollie silently screamed, it swelled into a frightful lump, a little smaller than the roundish stone that caused it. In the ten seconds it took for Ollie’s breathless scream to enlist his diaphragm and become audible, the two boys had beat a terrified retreat into the woods. Though Ollie half-consciously saw them dashing through the bushes, he was too dazed, dizzied, anguished—and childish—to make the logical deduction that the vanishing boys were the cause of his suddenly inexplicably aching skull.”

  11. I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

  12. Sounds like an intense book! Thank you for sharing!

  13. Enjoyed the book blurb, sound like an awesome read. Entering under the name of Virginia

  14. Enjoyed the book blurb, sound like an awesome read. Entering under the name of Virginia

  15. Thanks for your encouraging remarks.

  16. I enjoyed reading the excerpt. This sounds like a fun and an interesting read! I will totally be adding this book to my "to-read" list.