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.

Sigh….

Stella

 

 

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

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/widget/199354

Momentum…and free Kindle run results

It doesn’t take a hard push to get a ball to roll downhill. It also doesn’t take a hard stop to get a ball on flat ground to stop moving altogether.

The past six months have been tough for me. It only took a few errors on my new release to drop me to the ground. Honestly and humbly I admit with all the reads, rereads, and editing I still found errors in my newest novel. The cloud I’d ridden seemed to pour rain, sleet, and hail dissipating as it dropped me from the sky. What was quite frustrating for me was some of these errors were not found in my original paperback proof. Which may have meant we pulled an old file when fixing some errors or which meant something else I didn’t understand. I had no idea what happened. But I was so incredibly disappointed. I am a perfectionist. I don’t expect perfection from anyone other than myself. And with high anxiety living in my core each day, it was a tough blow for me to accept I’d made errors. But I am also humble and willing to face the music.

Only, my instrument felt broken. My daughter had been bullied at school again. I decided I was going to write the story parents need to read. The story so many children in schools face today. Then I was asked to write a different version. I outlined, I plotted, I sank deeper. I needed a lift, but I was focused on failure. I’d failed with the release of my novel because I released it with errors I didn’t know existed. I, a mother who would do anything for any child, couldn’t fix my daughter. I couldn’t make people like her. I couldn’t make people understand her quirkiness. I couldn’t even get anyone to appreciate her differences. And I also couldn’t get the schools to care enough to make big but simple changes. Each day for several months, I sat in my car in the afternoon pick-up line at two schools, and I read 34 Seconds out loud to find errors. There were truly only a few. A few which still sucked my will to get fixes done and published.

In the spring, I finished my new edits, sent them in and fixed my ebook and paperback documents with the help of a fabulous formatter who never made me feel less than human for admitting I’d made mistakes.

But it wasn’t until we decided as a family we were willing to walk away from our home before I began to feel better. From our home. From friends and family. To give our daughter a chance to be loved and accepted, we decided to move to another state. Another school district. Another neighborhood. More options. More opportunity. The day we decided to change out lives, a new light shined in my soul. I couldn’t wait to get back to projects I’d started and left unfinished. I couldn’t wait to write more. I couldn’t wait to tell the world about 34 Seconds again. I could forgive myself for being human. I could walk away from my mistakes. And oddly enough, I found it easier to walk away from people we know who had been hurting our children with hurtful words and physical actions. People I could no longer talk to because they never said sorry to us. I could even forgive, knowing we all had a new light shining inside us all.

 

This past week, I decided to celebrate my acceptance of myself, of my forgiveness, and run a freebie on Kindle for my novel. I felt I’d fixed what needed fixing…and don’t get me wrong, these errors were rather simple, like the word ‘to’ missing within a sentence, the word ‘silent’ used instead of ‘silence.’ And they were few. But I also added or deleted a few things while I was making fixes, but nothing which changes Nikki’s story.

So I thought I would have fifty or so books downloaded. And I hoped maybe of those fifty maybe five people would read it, leave an honest review, I’d learn something new about my writing and move forward. I wanted to celebrate me by getting my words out again. I wanted to tell people I’ve been rather silent about this book I wrote, but here it is. You can have it.

What I didn’t know was on the first day forty-eight would be downloaded.

Forty-eight.

I scheduled a five-day free run. At first, I wondered if I should have only done one or two days. Kindle gives us authors enrolled in a certain program five-day runs every 90 days our books are in the program. I had scheduled all five of my days in one run. My reason was because my third 90-day run in this KDP (meaning it’s a Kindle only exclusive novel) is up at the end of June, and I thought I might try to get it out to other venues this summer.

Anyway, I really thought on day one I’d hit what I thought I may get for all five days and my other days would end up being wasted. I’ve been swamped. I didn’t really advertise this free run. I didn’t contact any bloggers to help me. I didn’t ask for reviews or contacts. I posted on my Facebook pages, I have two. And I posted on Twitter. On day two, trying not to be annoying to those who see me daily, I posted in a few places. I tried not to include links everywhere. That can be annoying. However, if I had friends in multiple groups and on my Facebook page, some of my friends may have seen more than one or two posts at once coming from my page and a Kindle Free Group. But my goal here was to quietly get the word out, get friends to share with their friends, and not annoy folks by blasting a picture of my cover all over their feeds.

On day two, sixty-nine units were downloaded on Kindle for free. Wow, I thought.

On day three, fifty-nine were downloaded. Still I was trying very hard not to post too much about it, and I started thinking the downloads peaked on day two, I should have run a three-day free run. I will do it again one day, so I’m trying to learn from my own process. What works and what doesn’t.

Day four was a Friday.  And it was the best of the first four days. Eighty-one units were downloaded. At this point, I was tracking where my novel was on the Top 100 list of free books on Kindle. Without sharing the link, I’d share a photo of where the book was. That day, mine was rising close to Colleen Hoover’s Finding Cinderella. There was a point when mine passed hers and I gave myself a silent high five. About a second later I reminded myself Finding Cinderella was a novella about two and a half years old and might have even been free from the get-go. I read it when it was released in one sitting with two cups of coffee. So there I was laughing because I was proud my book had passed a novella which had probably been housed on that same list for years. For years. Which means people download volumes of that novella daily. Hey,  I was still proud.

By the time I went to bed Friday night, there had been 258 downloads over the four days. I was very surprised. No, I was actually shocked.

Saturday I woke thinking about the weekend and how I might expect a few downloads but having the promotion end on a Saturday probably wasn’t a great idea. I imagine people sitting at their desks during the week downloading free books. But on the weekends, I am certain those people are hiking, shopping, living, or at least reading their weekly finds from their work weeks.

A funny thing happened on Kindle that day. My charting page was only set to show up to June 10th. Every few hours I’d refresh the page to see if I had any downloads only to see nothing new. It was noon before I realized I hadn’t been looking at Saturday’s date, June 11th. Once I fixed the settings, I noticed about sixty copies had been downloaded. Laughing at myself, I went on with my day.

Sometime on Saturday 34 Seconds peaked at #27, #37, and #37 on the Top 100 Free list in Romance, Contemporary Fiction, and Women’s Fiction respectively. I don’t even know where Colleen Hoover’s two and a half year old novella was at that point. I was proud. I shared a few pictures, laughing at my guitar cover mixed up with covers of people without shirts and later mixed up with people who were clothed. I was simply happy.

When I woke on Sunday morning, I learned 246 copies were downloaded on Saturday.

When I started this free five-day run, I questioned whether I’d wasted five days. When I failed to do any upfront promotions, I wondered if it would do anything for the book. By the end of the five days, 503 had been downloaded. Five hundred and three copies of my novel are out into the world. My original hope was to have fifty out there and hope for ten percent of those people to review….which is a very high hope. Now if I am lucky enough to get that ten percent review my novel, I could have over fifty reviews. It’s still a high hope.

More importantly, it’s built my momentum. Not only can I accept that I am only human, I can also believe in humanity.

It’s truly been a rough six months for me. But this week we start our new beginnings. We close on our new home in Arizona this week. And there are over five hundred copies of my novel sitting out into the world. There is even a copy in India. Some will read it. Some won’t. I’ve picked up several novels I haven’t read yet. Some I’ll never read. It’s the nature of being human. Sometimes we support with numbers. Sometimes we support with reviews. Sometimes we support with coffee and a hug. This weekend I felt a hug from every person who took the time to click.

Thank you.

For being here. For being you. Thank you!

 

34 Seconds Free on Kindle

Back in the fall, I released my first book, 34 Seconds. Editing and Formatting were not a breeze, but the people I chose to work with are simply amazing. Just a month after it was released, I found a few things that needed attention within the book. Only a few…maybe five. Tiny things. But I’m a perfectionist, so I had to read the whole book again and get those fixes in.

In the meantime, I spent much of the school year sitting in meetings as my daughter was injured, teased, and bullied at school. Unfortunately promoting my book took back seat.

Now I’m kicking off. 34 Seconds is available.

For today and the next few days, 34 Seconds is free on Kindle.

I’d very much appreciate copies flying onto your devices. You don’t need a Kindle, just the app, to get your copy. I’d also very much appreciate a review once you have read it. Authors live on coffee, cashews, and reviews.

Grab your copy here.

Have a beautiful sunny day!

Stella

34seconds_WIP9stella

34 Seconds, Stella Samuel

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.

 

 

#AmWriting

Clearly, I am writing.

I have a scene to write. About fishing. I know about….nothing when it comes to fishing. I used to go fishing with my dad when I was little. I have memories of my grandfather fishing. My grandfather’s brother owned a seafood business my whole life. Yet, still I know close to nothing about fishing.

What kind of fish swim in the cold fresh waters of Colorado’s high mountains? I have no idea. This is why Google is my friend.

But writing this scene took me back to writing 34 Seconds. Nikki goes back home after years of being away and only visiting occasionally. I’m trying desperately to reopen my boxes of memories of fishing so I can write this scene. But I might not have the key to this particular box.

Excerpt from 34 Seconds:

Every time I visited, I thought I was still that young woman who left so many years ago. I’d locked up certain pains into little compartments inside my heart and inside my mind, and some of them tended to pop open like a Jack in the Box when I set foot onto my father’s property. I forgot just how many years have passed. I forgot how much can change and yet still stay the same in so many years.

If you know about fishing, you are welcome to teach me.

34 Seconds Book Blog Tour

I have been so honored the past few days to be featured on a few blogs. I’m very excited to have 34 Seconds out in the world.

I’m eager to finish my next book, and I’m even more eager to get my next NaNoWriMo project started next month. But for now, I’m enjoying sitting back for a bit and sharing my writing, extra scenes, recipes that inspired my book, and life through my characters.

Yesterday 34 Seconds was featured on Shaun Allan’s blog. If you love horror and haven’t heard of Shaun, be sure to stick around on his blog and check out his work. I was lucky enough to win his latest book, Darker Places, and I’m not sure I’m ready to turn off my lights just yet.

First, be sure to check out his post sharing my latest story which takes place in Deltaville, Virginia. In this post, I share a little about this beautiful town on the coast on Virginia.

Shaun Allan’s 34 Seconds tour

Cafe

So there I was. In the cafe again. And he walked in. My heart beat a little faster. His eyes looked past me as he gazed across the room. Tilting my chin down, I felt disappointed. We’re both in here, and though he doesn’t even know my name, I wish I knew him well enough for him to say hello. I’d settle for a nod. Some kind of acknowledgement that we both exist in the same place would be ideal. Hello, my name is Eric. That would be nice. I only know his name because the staff all say, “Hey there, Eric. Usual?” Each time he walks in, I hear those words. I also know his usual is an Alaskan Crepe and soy latte, hold the foam. Sometimes he jokes with the barista about how she might hold the foam, and how long she could work with a pile of foam in her hand. He’s funny. I think I want to know him because he’s funny. But I don’t know him. I just know he comes in every morning at the same time. I know this because I am here at the same time as well.

I’m young. Too young to be pining over someone I don’t know. But I do know when chemistry exudes from across the room. And we have it. Or I have it. He’s radiating chemistry, and I’m feeling it. I doubt he’s feeling anything. Except maybe hungry for salmon wrapped in a crepe. Each day is the same. For us both. I’m here when he comes in. I write. An advice column actually. I thought it was odd when I was asked to write advice for young teens, because I’m still a teenager myself. I don’t believe I know anything more than they know. I just have a few years on them. There’s a small magazine in the area that advertises fun things for teens to do, that’s how they make their money. Every now and then there are small articles on exciting happenings for teens, and there are a few of us that write for the mag each week. I am one of them. We have a cook, she likes to call herself a chef, but I’m not sure she knows more than how to do neat things with common processed foods. She’s given us recipes for pizza using dinner rolls, and tacos using Doritos. Not exactly exotic foods, but I guess it’s what our teen scene is looking for. We have a sports guy and a make-up artist that both write each week. I do the advice column. I get questions each week. I choose three and write my mature worldly response. I usually write those responses sitting in this café. I keep waiting for a question to come up that I could relate to. Something like, ‘The same guy walks into the same café I am in each day, and I’d like to talk to him because, from afar, I love him. What do I do?’ I’m sure I’d have some grand advice, like, sit at his table and engage him in a conversation about art or classical music. But in my real world, I’m not doing anything like that.

This morning, something with Eric seemed off. Different. He kept watching the door from his usual table. He was expecting someone. And it didn’t take long for her to show up.

“Daddy!” The toddler ran into his open arms, and Eric’s eyes lit up. I smiled as I watched them. For six months, I’ve watched him. From afar. And I’d never seen a daughter before. I watched him hug her, holding her tight as if she’d leave him. Behind the little girl, stood a woman. She was stern. Cross. I thought she was angry. Who could be angry at this scene? What I was witnessing was happiness. Joy. Incredible love. Eric moved his hand down his daughter’s hair, smoothing out her curls. He didn’t wear a wedding ring. One piece of advice I’d given a teenager once was not to trust a guy that wouldn’t be honest about his life outside of their relationship. As an adult, or up and coming adult at least, I didn’t trust a married man without a ring.

“You look so beautiful,” Eric said. That made me smile. I looked at his face, hoping for a small moment he was looking at me as he spoke. He was looking at his daughter.

“She knows that. You tell her all the time. You need to stop with this princess crap. Here’s her bag. I’ll pick her up at your house on Tuesday.” The girl’s mother bent over, kissed the girls cheek and walked out of the café. I looked down at my notebook. Chewing on my pen, I was reminded at just how little I know about dishing advice. I had no idea what just happened.

Of course I didn’t know what just happened. My notebook stared up at me. The one thing written on it was the topic of the day. “How do I make friends and keep them?” I thought this one was going to be easy. I’d walked into the café thinking about being yourself, making good choices, simple acts of kindness, and asking questions to people to get them to talk. People loved talking about themselves.

‘The best way to make a friend is to ask them to share something about themselves,’ I wrote. That was just an immature response, I thought. I chewed on the pen more and stole a glance at Eric again.

His eyes were sparkling. Did he have that sparkle before? His smile rose on one side of his face as he looked at his daughter with admiration. The little girl was pulling something out of her bag, asking Eric to put it on her. She said, “Daddy. Every girls has to wear one, while she sips her tea.”

“Okay, honey, you put it on, I’ll go order your tea. Do you want a raspberry crepe too?”

“With whip!” She laughed while she said it, and I wasn’t sure what was so funny. Maybe she thought her daddy was silly too.

Eric disappeared to the back of the café where the barista was waiting to take his order.

“Do you like to sip tea too?” I heard the question, but I wasn’t sure who had said it because I was watching Eric walk. He lacked his usual confidence today. His shoulders were slumped over. He looked tired.

I felt something resting my leg and looked down. A small plastic tiara was resting on my knee, ready to topple over and hit the floor. “Do you like tea?” She’d been talking to me. And she gave me a tiara.

“It’s mine, but you can wear it. I can’t seem to get mine to stay on. Could you help me?” She looked up at me with big blue eyes. Eric’s eyes. Her blonde hair curled up at the ends. And she was smiling. I smiled back at her. Taking the tiara from her hands, I placed it on her head and clipped the attached barrettes into place so it wouldn’t fall off the top of her head.

“I think it should stay now,” I said to her.

I looked up and Eric was standing over us with a tea cup in his hand. “Sorry about that,” he said to me. My heart skipped again.

“Oh.” I was flustered. I didn’t know what else to say. “Oh. That’s okay. She just needed some help.” I handed the tiara that was resting on my leg back to her and smiled. She was so cute.

She took it from my hands and said, “You don’t want to wear it?” I watched her eyes look down toward the floor. No one wants to disappoint a child.

Before I could respond, Eric, jumped in. “Honey, it looks like your new friend has some work to do,” he looked at my notebook. Immediately embarrassed, mortified even, I tried to cover the question that was boldly written on my page.

“Oh.” I said again. Good grief. Eric probably thought I was trying to make friends and taking notes about how I should go about doing it. “Work. Uh–” I just stared at him. He was older than I had originally thought. Crow’s feet peeked out from around his eyes. Laugh lines formed along his mouth as he smiled down at me.

“I’m Eric,” he said. “And I guess one little girl and two tiaras is one way to make friends.” He smiled again.

I was struck with fear. Dumbstruck. Starstruck even. For six months I’d watched this man, wondering what it would be like to talk to him. Wondering who he is. And the moment he was in front of me, talking to me, I couldn’t find words to say.

“Oh,” I said again. “Yeah, she’s so cute.” Yes, that’s a great ice breaker. Tell him the obvious. I tried to dig my way out of a hole. “And yeah, friends… I’ll have to write that one down. In my column. I write for an advice column. For teenagers.” I was pausing between every thought that was coming out of my mouth. “Bring tiara, make friends.” Eric laughed when I paused. “I might want to stay away from bringing little girls. My advice column is for teenagers. We try to keep them from having little girls.” I smiled at him.

“Probably a good idea.” Eric pulled two chairs over to my table, and set his daughter’s food next to my notebook. “You mind? I figure if you’re going to be sitting here wearing a tiara, you might not want to be alone.” He held up the tiara, and I tilted my head as he placed it in my hair.

“Yeaaaa.” The beautiful golden curls bounced as she clapped and bounced up and down.

That’s how I met Eric and Leslie. Today, that bouncing little blonde is graduating high school, and her two siblings are entering high school. Eric is only four years older than me. I was nineteen when we met that day in the café. After watching him for six months from afar, all it took was a smile and a tiara to start a friendship. Today we are married. But we always wear our tiaras when we sip tea. Which is almost never.