About This Book

Twisted by the Wind is a collection of stories and words of wisdom, with a fair amount of humor added. It chronicles a philosophical spirit developed on the plains of Oklahoma, the Arizona desert, Nashville, and the wine country of California, honed through a lifetime of entrepreneurial endeavors and adventures.

Tales of first flights, free meals in the park, car racing, life in a monastery, following a musical dream, and wisdom of the ages are all wrapped in a collection of quotes, short stories, poems, and personal revelations.

Designed to be a catalyst to spark readers' inspiration and creativity, you can open this book anywhere and find a fresh thought or idea to make life more enjoyable and to share with others.

What People are Saying About This Book

"Wonderful! Colorful and rich! Can't wait to read the next book!" - S. Pratt

"This is fun stuff, and anyone with a sense of humor, a down home upbringing and taste for wry is in for a treat." -R. Pope

"I love it!!!......Can't wait till you do a book tour..........!!!" -S. Greene

"The first scene would make a great movie opening!!!!" - K.Bishop

"The style is typical, understated, tom hays. I can hear you telling the stories." - G. Wilson

"Will trigger many fond memories in the hearts and minds of people who grew up where stories were told by people who knew the art of story telling" - L. Pope

"Charming!" - K.Edwards

"Now I know what I'm giving everyone for christmas." - M. Roth

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Life is Just a Picnic in the Park" -Tom Hays

Mable’s Boys  (From the book Twisted by the Wind by Tom Hays)

Ben used to go down to the park on Sundays with Frankie, his cousin.  They were about nine or ten at the most.   One particular summer, things got real interesting. 
Frankie had learned how to look out for himself by that time.  He could squeeze himself into about anything interesting that was going on, and make it work out for his own benefit.
His momma spent a lot of time working, and, with no father to turn to, Frankie kind of grabbed onto Ben’s family. He and Ben were almost like brothers for awhile.  Frankie, a little older and more experienced, tried everything first, and sooner or later, Ben would follow.
So, on most Sundays that summer, Frankie and Ben would be down at the park.  They’d swing, and then slide, and then swing some more and then slide some more, climb on the monkey bars and run up and down the paths.  Sooner or later they would work up quite an appetite.
Frankie would go first, over to the picnic area where he would carefully survey the situation.  Then he’d pick out a table, one with a big family around it and a lot of other kids milling around to provide cover.
Frankie would slide up to the buffet and Ben would follow.  They would take a plate and start filling it.  Fried chicken, red jello with fruit cocktail in it, deviled eggs and pie … lots of pie.
Some woman standing by the potato salad would look them up and down, and ask them, “Now just whose boys are you two?”  Frankie knew to stuff a roll in his mouth before she got to the “you two?”  He’d use an exaggerated munching motion, moving his whole face up and down, and he would mumble with his mouth full.  Ben quickly stuffed his mouth, too.
Frankie would keep up his munching, and before he could finish his entire act, the woman would say, “You must be some of Mable’s!  My, you boys are sure growing.  Bet you’ll both be about as big as your daddy some day!”
Frankie would just nod his head up and down, and Ben would catch on and start nodding his, too, in agreement.  Then, two very agreeable young boys would slowly back away from the scene with full plates of delicious, genuine, Sunday picnic food.  Life was sweet.
That gambit worked all summer, perfectly every time … well, except for that one time … with the black family.
Ben figured the real moral to the story, politics and race aside, is to just approach life like you belong there.
Sooner or later, the world will tell you who it wants you to be to make it happy.
You just have to nod your head up and down, and enjoy the picnic.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Presentation at Chandler AZ Book Club

All this and dinner too!  Susan and I had a great time discussing Twisted by the Wind with this book club group in Chandler, Arizona.  They had each read the book prior to the meeting, so it was really fun to hear their comments and share some of the inspirations that led to the stories related in the book.
Members Tina and Karyn dishing up a delicious shrimp salad.

Karyn & hostess Katherine share a laugh.
Member Susan joins in.
When they started pulling out their copies of my book, I knew I was talking to my kind of people.

A good time was had by all!  Great food, wonderful conversation and good wine.  What could be better?

Thanks to my wonderful wife Susan for taking the pictures and being such a supportive partner, and to Katherine for inviting me to share my book with the nice ladies in her book club.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Living the Nashville Dream

(from the book Twisted by the Wind by Tom Hays)

Cody walked onstage and surveyed the huge, cheering crowd, soaking in the excitement and energy radiated by thousands of adoring fans, the flashing effects lighting, the fog, and fireworks spewing from the pillars behind him. The warm-up band had been good … but the huge audience had evidently come to see him, Cody, the star attraction.
“Cody! Cody! Cody!” Their chant filled the huge auditorium to the rafters.
He threw his right arm up in the air with his guitar pick in-hand in a gesturing salute to the crowd, and the cheers grew even louder, more demanding!
Turning his head slightly to the right, he gave a shallow nod to the keyboard player, and his band began the set. The crowd was still screaming over the first, familiar bars of the first song.
He stepped to the mike, sang the first line, and the crowd noise swelled again. It was one of his signature songs, one he had written himself, one of many that had placed him on the top of the charts over and over again. At the chorus, everyone in the audience sang the hook with him. They knew it as well as he did.
Women in the front rows charged the foot of the stage, trying to get closer, reaching for a touch of his pant leg, tossing flowers along with notes, phone numbers, and undergarments onto the stage.
Cody smiled broadly, his pearl-white teeth gleaming in the spotlights. The crowd grew more frenzied and their sing-along turned to cheering at the top of their lungs, louder and louder, a constant high-pitched roar!
The loud buzzer on the timer over his head brought him to now. He suddenly realized the French fries were done. He lifted them from the cooker and dumped them into the draining tray. He salted them liberally and scooped them into small, red cardboard sleeves and placed the packages one by one onto the serving rack.
His dream had brought him to Nashville for his big break nearly five years earlier.
Looking through the small opening over the rack holding the cooked fries, out to the serving counter and beyond to those waiting in line, he saw a collection of other wannabe dreamers on both sides of the counter, all playing the lottery in some form or other.
Some, like him, playing the “Nashville Lottery” and hoping for a chance at fame.
Others, perhaps with an equal chance, simply purchased their lottery tickets at the quick mart, hoping for the big hand of chance to point to them and say, “You!”
Cody’s dream had followed him from Oklahoma all the way to Nashville. It was as real as any dream had ever been. He had lived it over and over … but after five years it was still just a dream. And it was still no closer to reality than it ever was.
He dumped more frozen fries into the cooker and hit the button to start the timer again. As the white fries sizzled in the oil, Cody slipped slowly back into his dream.
The crowd was still roaring as he began the second song. Cody tipped his cowboy hat and gave them a thumbs up.
There are people all over the world who wished they could be in Nashville, living the dream. Cody had made it.
Others, like Ben, knew about dreaming, but they knew about waking up too. Ben wanted to live in the best reality he could imagine.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Oklahoma, Where The Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plains.

What a grand time! Visiting good friends, presenting the book and taking a trip down memory lane!

Susan and I braved the 50+ mile per hour winds, just like the Oklahoma natives we are, and experienced the warmth and hospitality of the great people in our old home state.

Presenting to the legendary Acorn Book Club, formed before Oklahoma was even a state, was an honor and a privilege. The ladies were very kind and I enjoyed it very much.

A special thanks to Martha Roth for hosting a reception for us in her home, and to the folks who came to help us celebrate my book.

And while I am passing out thank you's, Barnes & Noble at 6100 N. May Avenue in Oklahoma City and Hastings Books in Enid both did a great job for us at our signings. Thank you to them and the wonderful folks who came and spent some time with us.

A great, great time.

Makes me want to write another book.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Road Trip! Book Signing in Napa Valley.

Napa Valley in the springtime brings surprises and good times. The winter rains linger, and there is an eagerness in the air, a confident feeling that spring sunshine will appear soon, waking the grape vines from their slumber.

The first signs of revival are the buds on the vines breaking open to reveal the new life, the new period of growth and productivity, a time of celebration and merriment.

Spring in Napa Valley, spent with good friends old and new. Ah yes!!

Thank you to Catherine Bergen at C Casa Tacqueria, as well as Copperfield's Books in Calistoga and Napa. And thank you to all the nice friends who shared this special time with us.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fun Presentation In Sedona

We had a great time presenting the book and conducting a writing exercise in Sedona's Village of Oak Creek! And, for a bonus, we had a beautiful snow storm going on right outside the window. Thanks, Jan and everyone who attended. 2/20/11

Monday, January 17, 2011

Let Me Sign Your Book.

I will be honored to autograph a copy of my book for you. Choose the edition format you want and enter the name you would like it autographed to. The order will come directly to me and I will sign it and send it on to you.

Thank you for your friendship,

Tom Hays

Sunday, January 16, 2011



Ben lay in a darkened room, motionless, staring at the ceiling fan above as it made involuntary, slow circles, pushed by the air register on the wall above his head. Apart from that, Ben was conscious of nothing else in his surroundings. He had no feeling, the pain driven away by the narcotics administered by the nurse minutes before.

She had come in, asked him how he felt and, although the only response she received were a blank stare and a slight grimace, she knew what he was telling her. She pulled a syringe and small vial out of her uniform pocket, filled the syringe, injected the needle and his grimace slowly eased away to stoic nothingness.

As she left the room, the overhead fan blades became like a shutter on a movie projector through which Ben watched snippets of his life, in no particular order.

He saw his mother leaning over him, tending to him as he lay in his crib and remembering her beautiful smile. Then he recalled the last time he saw her before she passed away, with the loving, pleased look in her eyes as she gazed at him as an adult standing over her bed.

In quick succession he saw scenes from his childhood, his years of discovery and growth through the spring of his teen years, then through the summer years of his young adult life with the activity of building a place for himself in the world.

He visualized the relative comfort and beauty of his maturity as if the events of that time had all been in fall colors, warm and relaxing. Then he watched his doctor’s face turn winter white pale as he read the test findings to him and pause briefly before he uttered the word “cancer”.

It had been a long winter at the end of the series of seasons in his life. Ben was a fighter, never giving up easily, but he always chose his battles carefully. This one chose him. Somehow he knew this was one he could not win. Winter had closed in, and this long, late winter’s night was to be his last.

As dawn finally broke, a thin sliver of bright, white light made its way past the window frame and into the still dark room, crossing Ben’s motionless face. He moved his eyes toward the light and looked directly into it. A slight smile appeared at the corners of his mouth. Staring fixedly into the brilliant, white light, Ben followed it to the eternal spring.

copyright 2010 Tom Hays