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

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.

 

 

Stella! Where ya been?

 

Six weeks – no writing

Ask any writer what they do when they go for a month and a half without writing. They’d probably tell you it’s much like being held under water without breathing. At some point you need air. A writer must purge. We write a lot. Every day. Many words fly from our fingers, and many of those words our readers don’t see. We vent, we outline, we think on paper, even digital paper, we build thoughts, worlds, and characters from our fingertips. Many come to life later, maybe in a novel, maybe in a short essay or blog. Some characters are real, like the woman who told a stranger they’d have to tie me to the roof of the car if I got any larger while pregnant with my first baby. We write just as we breathe. We journal. We share. We live and breathe in words on paper.

I haven’t written anything in six weeks. On November 4th, right at the beginning of NaNoWriMo, my best writing buddy passed on, joining the cemetery of laptops I have in my office. I feel as if I might become the junk car guy, only with used and broken laptops. But I won’t tear them apart. They are useless to me. I’m not a tech junkie who can build a 747 Boeing airplane with spare laptop parts. I now have six of them stacked inside a cabinet in my office. I guess once I can no longer stack them, I will maybe pull the oldest from the bottom and have an Office Space baseball bat in a field party. I’ll need someone to bring the angry rap music. I don’t think my John Denver station on Pandora will help me purge emotions from failed laptops.

It took my husband and me about a week to make a decision on a new laptop. Do we run down to Best Buy and buy what they have in stock? NaNoWriMo had just started. I was eager to write a new novel. Or do we do it right, and order a custom built Dell to keep me happier for longer? Short term goals or long term goals? I just wanted to write. But I was thinking long term as well. I want to write all the time, not just in November. So my husband gave me his laptop for a few weeks so I could continue to put fingertip to keyboard and write. And we ordered a Dell. My last Dell was an Inspiron. My new Dell is an XPS. I was excited for the beautiful HD Infinity Edge screen, the new technology, the Windows 10 already on the machine since I’m certain it was the upgrade to 10 that killed my old laptop.

The week of Thanksgiving my new laptop arrived. Each day before that, my husband would check the status of it. “It’s being built now, honey,” he’d tell me. I’d taken a fall, but I’d be okay. Meanwhile, my old laptop wasn’t fully dead. It would hold a battery charge until the battery died, then it would die. But somehow it would recharge. I couldn’t back it up because the backup software we used wasn’t compatible with Windows 10. We bought a new battery. And the battery store took my old battery to recycle. Wasn’t that so nice of them? Only my old battery would recharge a bit. The new batteries, we bought two of them, are both dead, and we have no way of charging them. The computer is dead, and it’s not backed up. Not since I wrote four chapters in my latest novel. I’ve come to terms with the fact these chapters may be gone. I can rewrite them. They won’t be the same, but they may be better. My husband has agreed to take out the hard drive and try to salvage what’s on it. If he can, great, if not, then there is nothing we can do.

So I focused on my new Dell XPS with the beautiful graphics and edge to edge screen. I’m back online. I’m back with Scrivener and Word. I can write.

Only I can’t type. For some reason, the keyboard on the XPS simply sucks. That’s all there is to it. I’ve typed on it for about three weeks now, and my conclusion is it simply sucks. It’s very flat. I opted not to do the touch screen with this laptop, and I didn’t want a solid state drive. Even without a solid state drive, though it does have one, it also has a hard drive, the laptop is so thin and lightweight. Great! Right? Expect much of the weight comes from making it too tablet-like. I didn’t want touch screen because I have tablets. I wanted a laptop. But the keyboard sucks. Gone are the Page up/down and Home/End buttons. Well, they are there, but they are shared with the arrow keys. So scrolling isn’t a one key function anymore. The Enter key is about the size of 1.5 letter keys. And the space bar doesn’t space when I touch it. My husband says I need some more thumb strength. Sure, I’ll just head right to the gym for the little thumb barbells. I can’t write today, I need to get my thumb work out in. He tried the keyboard and said, “I had a few problems, but you just need to get used to it.” Our next resolution was to hook up a USB keyboard, which I am on now so I can type. I took two typing tests this morning. On the laptop keyboard, my typing score was 60 WPM with an error rate of 0 WPM. Because I have practically no spaces between words. I’m not the fastest typist, but I do require spaces. I took the test again on the USB keyboard, and my score was 56 WPM. It’s a noticeable difference. Now, I can’t sit on my bed and write. I can’t sit on the couch and write. I might be stuck at my desk using an additional keyboard. There goes writing at Starbucks. There goes sitting at the playground while my kids play. I’m frustrated and frankly, furious.

This blog is nothing but complaining. I know. But it’s also the most I’ve written in six weeks. I will be resolute. I will move forward. I will write. I’m not sure when I will move on to editing Just Jules, which has a new name at the moment, but I’d like to see if my husband can get those four chapters off my old laptop. I’m adjusting. I’ve lost laptops before, but I’ve never had a true, hard crash. This time, I lost everything. When I set up my email on Outlook, everything was gone. I have no addresses. I use Gmail and my phone for many things, but gone are the days, for now, at least, of typing the first few letters and having Outlook find everything for me. Gone are the days, for now, of knowing where everything is. I don’t have Photoshop yet. I didn’t do Christmas cards this year. I’m at a complete loss. But I am fortunate this time of year, to have the ability to replace what I’ve lost. I need to find time and patience within myself to adjust and recover.

It’s not the end of the world. But it’s been hard. I’ll get back to writing. I’ll get back to publishing. I’ll get to sharing my mistakes so you can have an easier journey…and believe me, I’ve made mistakes. And I know it. But I also know I am human, and I’m working on forgiving myself as well.

Be kind, my friends. And go back up your work now. Now. Like, right now.

Stella

So you wanna write and publish

I took a flight from Denver, Colorado to Farmington, New Mexico. It was a puddle jumper plane. Little. Few seats. Only it didn’t jump puddles. It jumped the Rocky Mountains. I don’t know if you’ve ever been through the Rockies, but they are magnificent. Majestic. And quite rocky. It’s not a vision that only leaves you in awe, but also in fear, flying above those peaks. This flight was before 2001. The cockpit door was open. In between the pilot and co-pilot lay a manual. I was in the first seat. There were only about six seats on the plane. This thing wasn’t planning on every going very far. It was a plane that flew below clouds looking up at the all huge aircraft flying high and fast above, with aspirations to be that amazing one day. If this story took place in a cartoon, that is. Anyway, the one flight attendant shared my knee space and faced me. I feared a sneeze might push her against the door flinging us all out to pepper the massive rocks. Holding tight to my seat, I looked again at the two pilots and the book sitting open between them. I’m not sure why I said it except I am a funny person, but out loud, I said, “What is that? The ‘So You Wanna Be a Pilot Manual’?” The pilot turned and smiled. The flight attendant stifled a giggle. I held on tight. We were heading over rocky terrain, and I wanted to live. I watched that book the whole flight, ready to take it and read out loud if needed, but also secretly hoping neither pilot would pick it up for instructional reading while flying my precious life an hour and a half away from home.

A few years ago I started a novel. I started a few actually. Last year I finished one. Then I gave it to people to read. And they liked it. Then I had it edited and formatted. Both took much longer than I had planned. Then I edited it again because I question everything and decided I didn’t like everything I’d kept from my editor. More formatting. Cover designer who had been waiting for more than year was ready to go. Boom, it’s ready to go out. Right? No. I’m in a trial by error stage right now. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to talk about my process a bit more. If you are interested in learning about Indie Publishing and the things that give me anxiety, like where does this go, what stage should I do this? I’ll be talking about it over several weeks.

Right now, if you are a writer or want to be a writer, get you pilot’s guide out now, and start writing.

Happy words,

Stella

Writing

A Ghost Story

It’s Tuesday. I’m exhausted. I’m in pain because I did something to my back over the weekend while enjoying a mini vacation in North Carolina. But I’m happy. I’m joyful. And I’m able to see the beauty in all the little things around me. Like the heating pad against my back right now. It’s lovely. And warm.

I wrote this on the plane flying over the mid-west, thinking of all the time passed, the family I was coming home to, and the girl I used to be.

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The stairs creaked as she shifted her weight from one to another. They lead her to a place she hadn’t seen since childhood. Once her feet landed on the top step, she looked down behind her, imagining the old wood hidden under worn red carpet. She wondered if nails were popped, causing the creaking sounds, or if the wood was rotting in the humid environment of the deep south. In front of her, a hallway turned to the right and to the left. Before ending on the left, the hallway turned again, leading to a dead end without rooms or doorways, simply a hallway which ended. Closing her eyes, she could see a small table and two chairs, all made of a delicate metal, intertwined into elaborate designs. Sitting on the table, a tea set for two began to gather the dust it would carry for all the years to come. Opening her eye again, she noticed the table and tea set had been replaced with boxes filled with someone’s memories from a life passed. The bathroom door to the right of the staircase remained closed. She didn’t want to open it. The bathroom in her mind would remain clean, simple, decorated with handmade towels and rugs from a time when the residents were young and nimble. The bedroom to the right was dimly lit, its light spilled into the hallway. She walked in expecting to see dolls from the 1970s lying around waiting for a young girl to offer them love again. Instead, she found a four post bed turned on its side, the mattress leaning against the far wall, blocking much of the sunlight, and a matching dressing against the opposite wall. The dust she’d imagine piled on cake plates and inside the tea cups stirred from the surface of the dresser as she walked by. The only thing dating the room and the person that once called it her space were old vinyl records stacked in the dust.

Someone’s life was once here, in this space. It was no more. It wasn’t even memories. No dolls were awaiting a hug or a brush going through their hair. No toys were spending their time waiting for the next yard sale in hopes of finding a new owner to entertain. It was a lost and forgotten room. No ghosts showed, no presence felt. If it weren’t for the furniture, it would be simply a room with no history to share. Almost disappointed, she turned and walked down the hall, past the turn that should have dead ended at a tea party. The second bedroom door was closed, unlike the first. Her hands touched the door knob. She noted the long, thin locking mechanism from years past on the knob. It had been updated since the house was built, but hadn’t been updated within the past forty years. The door protested with sound as she turned the knob and stepped inside the room. Dust began to settle again after being stirred from the opening door. She felt the ghosts in this room. Not only from the motion of the dust hitting the air after it had settled years before, but also because of the energy in the room. The mattress was leaning against on the bed, but the bed wasn’t tipped to its side like in the sister room down the hall. The ghosts hadn’t played with the toys left in this room. They were covered in dust; webs connected them to one another, tying them together through time. Mattel’s Dancerina doll was boxed in the same box she arrived to the house in more than forty years ago. She was loved for only about five years, and then loved again, enough to box her up in original packaging and leave her in a room where time stopped in 1977. She knew, after looking around for a moment, time did stop in the little boy’s room in 1977, because the calendar left on the wall read December 1977. Standard Motor Parts was written underneath the picture of the young woman in hot shorts, or Daisy Dukes, and an oxford shirt tied up below her breasts sitting on a bale of hay while her red tractor awaited her in the sun. The woman standing in the room, waving dust from her eyes, wondered what happened in December of that year to make time stop. The boy who lived there so long ago, walked away from something. A timepiece, the calendar, marked the time the room was left, forgotten. His toy cars, model planes, and report card in an envelope addressed to the home, were all left on shelves where it would take years for webs and dust to settle connecting them all together, sealing them into the past, not to be bothered for almost forty years. The decade before the room was left abandoned, the little boy who lived there, played with Tonka trucks from the 1960s. He built model cars. He did homework in his bedroom. He slept in the bed still in place. And then he grew up. And left it all.

Or he died. A young boy, awaiting his final grades, may not have ever seen them. But the envelope still lay waiting his fingers. His name hand written across the brown package envelope, collecting the dust of the years, waited to tell him he would move on to the next grade. He had potential to be someone.

The woman turned her head from the calendar girl and toward the shelves hanging on the wall where cars were waiting for a car wash and a spin in the sun. Most of them had dates painted on them. 1974. 1973. 1976. 1969. 1977, of course. She smiled when she realized the boy had a chance to paint a 1977 model car for his collection before his disappearance, but then she remembered Miss December and knew he’d had much of the year in the room to get many things done. Breaking the web that tied the 1977 car to the 1976 van, she held 1977 in her hands. He painted it purple with black flames and dated it in white. She wanted to pocket the car. But it belonged here. She felt if she took from the room, the energy would go with her. Breaking the energy of the space might be detrimental to the rest of the house. The rooms where the ghosts don’t linger. The parlor where she’d spent her own childhood learning piano, the dining room with the sparkling chandelier where dinners were no longer consumed, and the four bedrooms on the main floor. They would all be safe from the ghosts. As long as she left the car on the shelf to linger, reconnect by dust and webs to 1977, when the room began to die.

When she spoke, her words were soft and quiet.

“I wish you peace.”

The door knob was warm under her touch as she closed the door behind her. When she passed the tea party hallway, the table was set up, shining in the bright sun coming in from above the grand front door. A girl and her ballerina doll, Dancerina, the woman presumed, where sitting in the two chairs. The girl giggled, and pushed a blonde curl from the doll’s eyes. Motion under the table caught the woman’s eye as she walked to the staircase. She caught a glimpse of a boy hiding under the table. A purple car lay beside his leg, inside a small hand. He looked no more than eight years old.

She smiled at each creak as she walked down the stairs. The boy was going into fourth grade. The report card was for the end of his first term in third grade. He never got to finish grade three. He never made it to Christmas of 1977. On December 2nd, the late fall weather in North Carolina felt more like early spring. On a gorgeous 69 degree day, the boy and his dog, a boxer named Simon, played in the front yard. Simon loved to play fetch, and the boy loved running up and down the hill of his parents’ property more than just about anything. Simon loved to run as fast as he could down the hill, and tumble and roll as the ball found his mouth.

That beautiful Friday afternoon, after school, the boy and the dog both rolled down the hill chasing a ball that had beaten their path to the busy road. The logger truck wasn’t speeding. He was heading to Rocky Mount, his last delivery for the week. He was ready to open a Pabst Blue Ribbon and sit on his front porch in the woods all weekend. He didn’t see the boy or the dog.

Everyone in that house essentially stopped their lives that day. The girl was no longer allowed upstairs. Her things were all left behind in her bedroom, but over the years, as she grew older, she’d go back up the creaky stairs to collect something from her bedroom and sneak it through the parlor and into her new main floor bedroom. No one was allowed to enter the boy’s room. No one collected Dancerina from her tomb. The girl had always wanted a bed for her doll, but had never gotten one. Instead of tucking her into her own bed each night, she’d put her doll into her box and let her sleep there. No one was ever certain just how Dancerina found her way from the girl’s room and into her brother’s room. But Dancerina stayed there, left unattended, unloved, almost forgotten, to live with December 1977 calendar girl and all the model cars.

Memories flooded through the woman’s soul. She remembered. She wasn’t ever supposed to forget. But she did. Almost forty years had passed.

She wondered if her Dancerina doll would like a new home. She wondered if Dancerina would remember the five year old she used to be. She didn’t have any memories of her older brother. But the memories suddenly flooding her senses were beautiful. She’d not only let the ghosts out, she’d let them into her mind as well. And they were welcome. She’d been looking for them for years. It was the most beautiful sight she’d ever seen. The face of her brother, still eight years old, looking down at her from nowhere except the past.