Posted in Life stuff

In the mind of Stella…

So I help my partner by running her social media, blogs, and calendar when I can because she’s out of the house working much of the time.

Here in the Valley of the Sun, a mile south of the sun, we’ve had more dust than fresh air lately. She runs a pool business, and pools are wrecked every day, then cleaned just in time for the dust to roll in again. It’s amazing to watch. Check out this photo from Jerry Ferguson, a local news helicopter photographer from just last week. He’s also responsible for the microburst photo from 2016. Coolest storm ever! Check him out here.

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Anyway….see? This is how my mind works.

This morning started with an effort to show my partner how to create ads on Facebook so we could promote the last blog I wrote for her site. This is how it went:

Stella Mind: Welcome to Thursday, Stella. You have no appointments and you could write all day if you’d like. How would you like to start?

Stella: Oh, I don’t know. How about I steal Jessica’s business page from her and see how that goes?

Stella Mind: Well, that doesn’t sound productive. You have hours and hours to write. Maybe you should start there.

Stella: Yep. But, first, let me steal her business page. It’ll be quick and painless. And she doesn’t have any appointments this morning so we can spend some quality time together. It’ll be like Battleship or Strategy. Fun stuff.

Stella Mind: You have a book to finish.

Stella: Yep. I need to kill someone today. It’ll be a sad day. I should take over the world first.

Stella Mind: The world is a big place.

Stella: Which is why I will just take over Jessica’s business page. Funny, when it said Page Owner is Stella Samuel, while she was cooking me breakfast, I did laugh a little.

Stella Mind: So you did it? Now you can write?

Stella: Yep. I did it. I own her page. But that didn’t make her happy. And really, all I wanted to do was show her how to make an ad not just boost a post.

Stella Mind: And you took over her whole page.

Stella: Yep. But then I had her delete me from it altogether so I was no longer owner and also no longer an admin. That might have stung a little bit.

Stella Mind: As much as it stung her when you stole her business from her?

Stella: Probably not.

Stella Mind: So it’s all fixed now, and you can go write?

Stella: Well, she kept me off as admin for a while so we could try to figure out other things. Each time I went to her page to make a change, I was only able to look at it.

Stella Mind: How did that make you feel?

Stella: Like we broke up.
Well, really, like standing outside on a cool windy day…one of those fall days that smell like pumpkin spice and hot coffee…in front of a candy shop and looking into the crisp, clear window filled with chocolates, lollipops too big to ever consume without getting dirt or dog hair on them, and one of those taffy pulling machines and no money in my pocket…after we broke up. Because really, it’s her candy shop…I want her candy…but I can’t get in.

Stella Mind: You really should be writing, you know. You just set the scene…well, you know what you just did.

Stella: I will go write. I must. I know.

Stella Mind: So, her business page is hers again?

Stella: Yes.

Stella Mind: And you got her ads all set up for her or at least with her?

Stella:

Stella Mind: Ads? For Heath Family Pool Service? Are they done?

Stella: No.

Stella Mind: Did you do anything?

Stella: I ate breakfast with a beautiful woman.

Stella Mind: Chocolate and lollipops?

Stella: Where were you when she was cutting up peppers and putting them into eggs?

Stella Mind: I’m always here. I was trying to get you to write.

Stella: I will….go write, I mean. But I should create an ad for Jessica.

Stella Mind: Maybe Jessica should do that.

Stella: She has to go. She has afternoon appointments. But we got to spend the morning together.

Stella Mind: Yes, you did. Because you stole her business from her while she was cooking you breakfast.

Stella: Do we have to talk about that again? I. Got. To. Spend. The. Morning. With. Her.

Stella Mind: So, go do that ad for her business. Then go kill someone.

Stella: #Goals
Coffee first…
Wait…do you know where my pen is?

Posted in Fiction, Life stuff

Why, Stella

I tried to convey some of this in my live video while revealing my new cover for 34 Seconds, but there were technical issues because me and technology…well, that’s all, just me and technology.

I’ve been asked several times why 34 Seconds has a new cover, and why I keep saying I’m relaunching my brand. Those of you who know me or have followed me for the past several years may know I have undergone some of the big life changes in recent years.

I released 34 Seconds, my debut novel, in 2015. It was the start of a new school year and the second year I spent more time researching different schools and districts, including those out of my home state of Colorado, than writing.

After yet another year of incessant teasing and bullying, including being pushed down stairs and into tables and lockers by kids we knew, I pushed for a move for my daughter. I’d always said she won’t see the age of sixteen unless she has wings to fly and be her own person. The high school she was slated to join had lost several kids to suicide. It took the entire school year and into the summer to make the move, but in mid-2016, my family and I moved to Arizona. I could get into how much happier I am, but that doesn’t matter. I could even get into how well my daughter is doing though I am convinced she has pain I may never understand, but that, too, doesn’t matter to the story of 34 Seconds.

Before the school year was too far underway, I discovered something about myself and about what I needed in my world. For the first time in years, I had a support team. Not just a friend or two who listened and advised or nodded heads in an understanding of parental difficulties, but a real team. People who surrounded me, lifted me up, loved me, told me day in and day out that I am worthy. I had been bullied almost as much as my daughter had been. By teachers, by schools, by the people I thought loved me most. I had been told over and over I am wrong, not worthy, and useless. It didn’t take long for me to grasp the good in my world, hold my breath and fall off a cliff into a realm I knew little about.

My family fell apart.

My world spun out of control.

I stared at divorce papers through tears wondering if I’d ever believe the things I’d heard in my new world.

In the two years since the move the Arizona and the six months before, my debut novel didn’t get any love. I couldn’t publish my other work. I couldn’t promote my one novel. So, it sat. Unloved. Unattended.  Unwanted.

A burden.

Like me.

There’s a funny thing about life’s challenges. If we push ourselves, if we build a team around us to hold us up when we are weak, if we allow ourselves to feel every horrible emotion settled into our stomachs, we can come out not just alive and surviving, but better than before.

I can’t say I’m there yet.

But I believe Stella is worth it. I believe my work is worth it. And I believe I am worthy.

And those things are a big change from where I was two years ago.

So, when the time came to allow myself to publish again, I ran 34 Seconds through more edits, more Beta readers, and found a fabulous designer to make a new cover.

And it’s here. Like me. Much the same, but new again. Renewed. Worthy of being out in the world. It’s not the writing I do today. If I were to rewrite this whole book today, I’d probably change quite a bit. Nikki would be stronger. Maybe Will would respect her and not just think he did. Maybe Chris would be the partner a strong Nikki deserves.

But I didn’t change much. This book is already a few years old now. But it’s a story that is so close to my heart, I had to make it worth getting back out into the world.

I will be publishing more again. Just Jules should be ready for beta readers soon. My artist is waiting on cover ideas, so he can get to work. And if you’ve followed me for the past few years, you may know Finding Her and What May Come will follow in the next year to two. I’m also working on a middle school adventure, and I’m excited to bring Zane into my writing world. I haven’t decided what I will do with the LGBT stories I have, but I will share when they are ready.

If you take anything from this, know you are worthy. And stop letting people tell you otherwise.

You know, I’d truly appreciate sharing with your friends and grabbing your copy, so I’m tossing some links in below so you can easily find 34 Seconds. Grab a bottle of wine and some tissues while you’re shopping.

Amazon Print and Kindle

 

Also here if you are a B&N shopper

Barnes and Noble 34 Seconds

 

Stay real and spread love like glitter,

~ Stella

Posted in Life stuff

Another Year

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

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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.

Cried.

People.

Friends.

Love.

Acceptance.

Balloons.

Celebration.

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: https://www.facebook.com/sweetbbs/

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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!

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