Posted in Life stuff

Another Year

With the titles of all the books I’ve written…


This cake!

Another year…

This was a big birthday for me, but I’ve learned every birthday is big as long as we are still here to celebrate it.

I wrote a blog that was almost depressing as I pondered my own death and whether or not some would notice my absence at this point in my life. It was sad. It was cathartic. It was a culmination of each big moment I live without those from my life – those I miss. And the end result was to keep living. Upon my demise, I would no longer know if tears were shed, if regrets were discussed, or if I’d been long forgotten before a second thought would be given — or not given.

So, instead of focusing in the negative, I decided to focus this blog on celebration. It was a big birthday. And those I missed were noted in my personal world.

But I was celebrated.

I’ve spent years with my birthday passing without pomp and circumstance. I have a daughter whose birthday quickly follows mine and am used to focusing on her and frankly, being forgotten in the mix. It’s the life of motherhood. I’ve had few complaints, but I have been hurt as July 6th passes with a cup of coffee from Starbucks and not much else in acknowledgement of the day. For years.

Lack of celebration has not been a large deal to me until celebration became the norm in my new life. I told someone yesterday I feel as if I have been celebrating for two years now. I am often floored by the love and support surrounding me each day.

Backtracking a bit, I had a good life. A great home. A family. Fabulous though sometimes challenging children. But I lacked in my world, and I accepted everything I had as somewhat of a compromise. Two years ago, I made a huge change with a move from the snow to the desert. It didn’t take long to realize the core troubles in my world wouldn’t change as a result of a dry heat or an impressive monsoon season. As a result, I made another huge change in my world. It’s been a scariest two years of my life. But also the most enjoyable and eye opening years thus far.

As this year’s birthday came around again, I was reminded of just how much has changed in my world during these past two years. While I was living in memories passed wondering if another year would go unnoticed, the people who love me most today – the people who have filled my world for the past two years – were busy planning another surprise party for me. They did this last year, so this year I didn’t think it was remotely possible they could pull it off again. But they did. I didn’t scream and run away this year as I did last year, but they got me. Not only did I walk into my home filled with people, but I cried.








But what got me was this cake.

This gorgeous amazing cake.

First, I have to give a shout out to Brittany who made this amazing cake. She can be found here:


Did I say amazing?

Second, these people…these sweet, kind, wonderful people who set up, shopped, gifted, decorated, cooked, and showed up to celebrate me…well, let’s just say I’ll never get used to this is my life. And I appreciate it more and more each time I am gifted with anything from you all.

Third, and this is not lost on me. I am an author. I’ve known many of these folks for two years. When they met me, I was an author. I had one book out which was a year old. I had a plan to get these other titles out, but as my life has taken these twists and turns, I couldn’t publish. I’m just now getting back to working on rebuilding – by relaunching my first novel which is almost three years old now. These other titles will be released in the next two years to follow, one by one. But these amazing people in my world who don’t hesitate to celebrate me, celebrate a cup of coffee, the chance at a glass of wine, or just the sun rising haven’t ever hesitated to support my journey as an author despite the fact that many of these books I talk about have yet to be published.

So, cheers to another year. One of moving forward instead of looking behind. One of love and support filled with positive energy and kindness.

And cake!










Posted in Life stuff


Anyone with the vast sense of loss can understand the emptiness on days that would, in another lifetime, come in celebration. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries spent honoring love and life together. One day those dates come and go without the same meaning. But our hearts remember. Our minds cling to the memories. The snapshots of years past with the same dates fill dark voids.

I’d like to call. I’d like to send wishes of peace and happiness. No number exists in my world. None to call. No one to answer. It’s another day. Another day I am reminded of what I don’t have instead of what I wanted.

Just how do we handle such emotion on these difficult days? Surely, they pepper the calendar all year long. Are some more difficult than others?

Today. I will sit. In quiet. I will say happy birthday twice. I will remember. I will cry. And I will soak up the sun to remind myself I am alive. And I owe it to anyone who has loved me even once to live while I can.

Yesterday, I wrote these words:

I ache for your voice. For the stubble brushing my cheek as we hug. I ache for your love and acceptance. I ache for the memories of you. For forgiveness and moving on. But I accept. As much as I ask for the same, I’ve simply learned it’s what you want. Acceptance too. So, I do.

I accept you are both gone. One I cannot touch. One won’t touch me. Instead of the memories of smiles and heartache, I give the gift of moving on. It isn’t what I thought it would be. It isn’t us smiling together. But it is me smiling with fond memories. And it’s you smiling. Wherever you are. I accept it now.

Posted in Life stuff

It’s the little things

It only takes a few small things to snowball into one massive emotion, struggle, or success. I’ve said it’s been a tough two years. It doesn’t need to be repeated. But, for me, those toughest moments live weaker in the snowballing success.

A few weeks ago, I got notification that two of my tiny pieces would be published on Nailpolish Stories. This is a fun site with the strict requirement of exactly twenty-five words base on a color of a nail polish.

Funny, I don’t paint my nails. I’ve never really gotten into that sort of feminine care. I’ve tried. I’ve given several reasons or excuses over the years for why my nails aren’t as colorful as the rest of me, but really those excuses don’t fly. In reality, I’m just too lazy.

But this was a fun project. I got to peruse the vast web for fun colors and imagine where those colors took me and my writing. The editor picked two pieces to publish here.

Thank you to Nailpoish Stories and to Nicole, its founder and managing editor. I hope to peruse this world of shiny colors again.

My snowball just got larger this afternoon when I saw this message from my school. As part of rebuilding myself, I searched for a school that would fit my needs, my personality, my goals, and my past in the industry. I have been in theatre. I have been in music. I have written novels. The university I chose is the perfect fit, and I am happy to report I still hold a 4.0 average. I cannot promise I can keep that, but I will dedicate myself to doing my best.

Today, I received this note:

I wanted to let you know that you have earned the Course Director’s Award for Scriptwriting Techniques, for your section this past March! This recognizes your outstanding work, your dedication to your craft, and your ability to generously and professionally contribute to your fellow students’ success. You definitely crushed it this month.

 This award is documented in your college records, announced at your graduation ceremony, and it marks you as a student of distinction. 

Thank you for your inspiring commitment. It has been a pleasure being your guide on your journey through this course.

Congratulations! I really am looking forward to hearing about you as your career progresses. Please stay in touch 


 I cannot tell you how these two things, fifty tiny words published and an award from my school of choice fitting for my specific industry, lift my spirits. This is a snowball I will happily climb onto and ride.

So many things around us bring us down. We often ride these negative snowballs which turn to avalanches buying us in deep snow. Instead of placing focus on the negative, I choose to ride the positive. They won’t always appear exactly when I need them, but they are there. From the sunshine each day to smiles on faces in the world surrounding me.

I ask that you do that same. Focus on the positive. Ride those snowballs like rollercoasters up large hills with a down filled with invigoration and glee. Share your positives with those around you. This is a tough world. There are folks out there with goals to simply bring us down. We win each and every day when we prove their competition, our foundational support systems, are large and enormously positive.

Posted in Life stuff

The Big Comeback

I don’t even know where to start, you guys!

It has been a whirlwind of a couple of years here in Stella’s world.

The move to Arizona: the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

The move to Arizona: the worst thing I’ve ever done to myself.


Just how does one cope with both extremes at once?

I spent a year bouncing back and forth wondering, ‘What have I done?’

I’ve spent close to ten years, maybe more, I refuse to dive any deeper, living a good life. But with huge compromises.


I, like many mothers, like many wives, put myself last on every list I made. Did I need something? Surely someone in my family needed something more than I.

Did I want something? Sure, but raising children certainly pushes wants to the side. And when parents get a chance to focus on wants, we often fill our children’s buckets first.

I won’t bother to fill you with details of my downfall but know I am up again.

I won’t speak poorly of others but know I have my own story to tell.


But what I will do is remind you to look at yourself and ask where you are placed in your world today.

And why?

I encourage you to stand up for yourself. In your home. At your job. With your parents, with your children, with your spouse. Stand up and stand firm. And know I will stand with you and hold you up if you topple.

I couldn’t have rebuilt my own foundation if it weren’t for those who held me up these past two years.

I learned love is hard. And it’s unforgiving. And it is certainly conditional at times. But loving yourself is so much tougher than loving someone else. Seeing good in others is easy. They fill your flawed holes with the things you wish you had. Strength. Wisdom. Acceptance. Tolerance. Patience.

But filling those voids alone is where we thrive. When we sit with ourselves and wait for the magic moment where we accept ourselves, our mistakes, our discretions, and our flaws, our world opens to possibility.

I knew I wouldn’t be loved.

I was told I was unloveable.

I was reminded of unforgivable acts time and time again. Simple things such as asking to attend a birthday party. Unforgivable.

I was told I wasn’t worth it.

I wasn’t even sure what ‘it’ was. Nor was I sure I even wanted it.

Time and time again in my life, I have said goodbye to people who couldn’t offer me what I wanted or needed. I have said goodbye beacuse I didn’t offer what they needed or wanted either. Time and time again I have lost love to hold on to sanity.

Until her.

She opened my world again.

She showed me I am loveable.

I am worth it.

And I know what ‘it’ is. Finally.

It is pure magic.

It’s love. It’s tolerance. It’s acceptance. It’s longing and yearning. It’s desire. It’s respect. It’s understanding. It’s laughing. It’s crying together. It’s a hug at the end of a long day. It’s a reminder that you are valued. It’s everything good handed to you with a smile. It’s everything bad shared because we, as social beings, shouldn’t have to feel alone. It’s forgiveness. It’s kindness. It’s gentle. It’s fierce. It’s love. Pure and simple. Gray yet filled with colors, love knows no bounds and it grows by the minute. It’s challenged and stronger, not weaker, after the run.

It’s honest. It’s lovely. It’s imperfect.


It’s not hurt. It’s not pain. It’s not cruel. It’s not guilt. It’s not hatred.


Stella is getting her groove back.

I came out to my father at nineteen years old. My heart was broken by a few women in the time before I walked away from pride and rainbows. I buried my first girlfriend. I broke a heart or two myself.

I let fear guide me along my path. Over the years, I fed a relationship that didn’t feed me back. And then I stopped feeding it. I suffered. The relationship suffered. Our children suffered.

Today, I am out again. I come to you with a notion of love.

It doesn’t matter who you love.

I am in love with a woman who was built just for me. I’ve waited for her my whole life. I looked for her in every person I’ve met. But she was never there.

Today she is here – with me. And as I fought to keep my work going here and let the world forget Stella Samuel, she was here to remind me I can come back. I can rebuild. And I can keep writing.

I’ve disappeared far too long. But I had reason.

I’m coming back. With a re-release and a new release. And I’ll kindly ask for your help bringing me back into the world of reading and writing.

I have big things going on, and I’ll need you if you’re still here. Bring a friend.


With this new publishing venture, I’ll be starting a mailing list. I hope you’ll sign up. I also hope you’ll share with people you know.

Until then, I thank you for allowing me the time to check in. Don’t forget to check in with yourself today too! You matter to so many in your world. Make sure you matter to yourself as well.

Posted in Life stuff

Big Life Changes

I have been writing. I have been living. And I will be sharing all the great things going on in my writing world again, but for now, I’ve left my website alone so I could focus on the important things in life. Living it.

I still have three novels in the works, two close to ready for my editor. The other in a rewrite stage. I’ve also started that children’s series I’ve talked about for years. And I’m trying to get my other name back out into the real world.

I miss connecting with my writing world. It amazes me at times just how much I need this…this writing…this connection…this creativity to survive.

But in the past six months, I’ve learned and focused on one thing. I no longer want to only survive. I want to live. So I will.

And soon, I will share more writing from Stella’s world.

I hope you all are well and enjoying the new growth of a beautiful spring.





Posted in Life stuff

Happy New Year



As we end the year which will go down in history as the one which started the apocalypse, as some would say, I would like to begin to look ahead. A world without Mrs. Brady. A world without David Bowie. A world where each time I watch Severus Snape, a tear sneaks from the corner of my eye.  A world where a princess and the dancer who created my love of musicals are together in a beyond I cannot fathom just yet.

This year I took more control of my life. Of my feelings. And of my own actions. I pushed a move to Arizona to better my life and that of my daughter who had been bullied, violently at times. It worked. I am happy to say, though we have parenting challenges, she is doing quite well. She is coping. People here are kind. There seems to be little drama she gets involved in. And oddly enough no one pushes her down the stairs.

The other thing I did this year was quite selfish. I decided I wanted to live. I want to be alive. I want to wake each day in love. I want to watch the sun rise knowing I am loved. I want to live each day to the fullest. Face each challenge with grace. I want to feel pride again. Pride for my home, my family, my life. I didn’t seek a new adventure. It found me. Life looked me in the eye and said, if you want to be a part of this, jump in and hold on tight because this will hurt at times, but it will also be incredible. You’ll need to decide which one is worth the fight. Give up or live the life of someone alive. I cried at times this year, not knowing how I would move forward with the challenges I accepted into my life. I’m sure I will cry even more as these challenges face me each day going forward. But there will be a point where I am in a good place again and the journey will have been worth it. The journey is the goal, right? The journey needs to be good in order for the end to be rewarding. If the journey isn’t fulfilling, then I didn’t cross the paths I needed to cross. I didn’t climb the mountains I needed to climb. Speaking of climbing, I hiked Camelback Mountain recently and can’t wait to get back up there again. Hiking to the top to see the world around me is something I want to relish every day. Each day I’d like to wake knowing I am but a small part of this world but I can overcome the negativity which faces me.

I didn’t write as much as I thought I would this year. The next year will change that. As I face my new normal, writing will become the outlet I’ve always needed it to be. I have three books in the works right now. My goal this year will be to get one to market and the second ready for Spring of 2018 if not earlier. Then the third, which I wrote just last month during NaNoWriMo, ready for the following year. It sure would be nice if I have them all ready earlier. The next challenge I’ve created for myself in my writing world is the middle school series I’ve allowed to float around in my head for years.

Add to that a home renovation and the need for an office in which to write again, and I think I have a pretty full year ahead.

Someone asked me recently if I am happy. I said yes. And I meant it this time. I am truly happy. I struggle with a lot of things. This coming year will bring new challenges as our family changes once again. But I am making my way, creating my path, and making my own happiness. Because I matter. To me. And to the people who love me.

If you do anything new or different in 2017, I’d ask that you make your own happiness. Force big change on yourself. Push yourself. Challenge those around you to love you in the ways you need to be loved. I made my happiness. Go make yours. Make it a great year.




Posted in Fiction, Peek into Stella's Books, Writing

34 Seconds Kindle .99 Cents Sale

It looks like my week was too busy for me to advertise the Kindle sale on 34 Seconds. It’s on sale for .99 cents for the next several days.

You can pick it up here. 34 Seconds .99 Cents Kindle Sale

I’d appreciate it if you’d tell your friends too because my week was too crazy ass busy to tell anyone

This has been the craziest week since the big move to a mile south of the sun. My broken foot hurt worse this week than it did the week I broke it. It is now wrapped and inside the silly shoe. I’d like to say stupid shoe, but it has a purpose and things with purpose can’t be stupid. With one job, there are few opportunities for it to fail.

Sunday night I went to bed knowing our cat, Beethoven, was sick again. I missed the signs last week. If only he could talk, he would have told me he had a tummy ache. I might have asked him if he’d pooped today, and he might have said, “I haven’t pooped in a week.” But because he’s a cat, none of that happened, and I had to see him doing three things before I knew. One of those things was him squatting in the middle of the room straining to poop. I figure that was his way of getting my attention and saying, “See? I could sit here and push…and nothing. I got nothing. I can’t poop.” He was at the vet’s office for four days this week. He spent one overnight there and did not look happy when I asked him how his sleepover was. Evidently, they didn’t play pin the tail on the donkey or Twister. But they did shave his tail and twisted him in several positions to force out the poop….this after three days prior with at least three enemas each day and several X-Rays. Now he’s home. And he’s stinky. But he didn’t die. And since I am the one who saved him, he won’t leave my side.

Add to that four eye doctor’s appointments for me and my children and new glasses for me, one school assembly, and one daughter who lost her contact after it fell out of her eye in the middle of class, library books  due, lunch out, picking up my wedding band from a store an hour away, and all the normal things I do each week. It was simply a crazy week.

And I missed out on marketing my own sale.





Posted in Fiction, Peek into Stella's Books, Writing

Goodreads 34 Seconds Signed Copy Giveaway

Goodreads hosting a giveaway for a signed copy of 34 Seconds. The link to enter is below.

You can sign up from August 19th – September 19th.

I’m excited to be a part of Goodreads. They are my favorite place to go when I need ideas for great books to read. If you are not on Goodreads, be sure to check them out as well. You can track your reading progress, mark books you’d like to read so they are easy to find when you need a good book to read, and discover new books.

This giveaway is only open to US residents.

Nikki and Will fell in love a lifetime ago in Deltaville, Virginia. Now living in Colorado with her family, Nikki is invited to attend Will’s wedding back in Virginia where she finds her past staring her in the face. Will never wanted a wife, and he broke Nikki’s heart long ago. Nikki knew what she wanted: a strong, happy marriage and children, a future. She found those things when she married Chris, and she and Will managed to grow their friendship after heartbreak. A year after the wedding, Nikki is faced with her painful past again. She soon discovers she must find the strength to help Will on his own personal journey. In thirty-four seconds, she sees him slip from her life forever. Watching Will cross over to his fate, her past collides with her present, and Nikki learns she’s never been in control of her own destiny. Her own journey back to her family in Colorado becomes one of self-discovery. With the help of Will’s voice to carry her across the country, Nikki must decide how she will move forward.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

34 Seconds by Stella Samuel

34 Seconds

by Stella Samuel

Giveaway ends September 19, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway