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 Peek into Stella's Books

In Law Chronicles

I keep telling myself this was my choice. Marrying into this family…all my choice. So I shouldn’t be quite so offended, should I? I should be grateful this man asked for my hand in marriage, gave me a home, then knocked me up and made me larger than our car. We need a new car. If we don’t get one, they will strap me to the roof of the one we have – just like the dead grandmother in the movie Vacation. I know they will. She’s already told complete strangers of the plan. She is my mother in law. If she and I had met before my husband and I met, I would have made sure she wasn’t in my life any longer. Sadly, if it had happened that way, I never would have met Lucas, but since I was lucky enough to meet Lucas first, I unfortunately said I do to his entire family as well.

It took a while to get to know them since Lucas and I started dating in September, got serious by November and his parents stopped talking to him in December. October was pretty uneventful though, except for that one time Lucas and I argued over the phone. I felt bad, so I put on a cute little purple negligee buttoned up my long wool coat over the goods and drove from my apartment in Denver to his townhouse in Boulder eager for him to open the door and see the present I wrapped for him under a long wool coat. Come on, every woman has done that, right? You don’t think about the thirty minute drive where you could get pulled over or flip your car and end up in the hospital with some doctor cutting off your coat talking about how people shouldn’t wear coats while in the car because it lessens the safety of the seatbelt, or the conversation you’d have to have with your family or friends when they come to bail you and your purple nightie out of jail because even though you’ve never done a single thing to go to jail, you’ll surely make a visit that night simply because wearing a little purple almost nothing under a long wool coat is just a bad omen. I didn’t think about any of that on that particular night. I also didn’t think about the fact that his parents who may or may not have been out while Lucas and I were arguing over the phone, would be sitting in his living room farting over and over again making the place smell like rotten cauliflower sure to set the mood I was not looking for in the purple nightie. I also didn’t think about extra clothing.
Luckily for me, I was never pulled over, didn’t have to visit an emergency room, or see my family while sporting all the preparations of sex ahead. Wow, looking at that I’m pretty sure I’ve admitted to having sex with Lucas not too long after we started dating – 6 weeks….8 weeks…?? Well, we are married now, so shut it! And don’t tell our children! But I did have to walk into his townhouse that smelled like cauliflower ass wearing a shiny purple negligee, greet my boyfriend, and walk straight upstairs and pretend to be sick. Sure every girlfriend drives for half an hour to get to a different bed in which to rest while feeling ill. I’m sure it was a believable story. I’m creative like that. ‘Hi, honey, can I take your coat?’ ‘No, thanks, I drove here in my coat and I don’t want to take it off because I’m so cold. I just may have a fever. Can I just sleep here tonight? G’night, all.’

Shit! Maybe I looked the idiot that night, but all I did was try to be sexy and show how sorry I was for arguing and how fun it can be to make up. Instead I was almost ill. I can still smell the cauliflower ass and feel that same sickening feeling, so maybe there was no salvage to the evening. Though I’m not sure how I’ll ever salvage the in-law relationship. They plan to put me on the roof of the car. I’d better get this baby out soon. Today would have been good, but we had plans to have breakfast with Lucas’ parents, and while they were waiting for us to arrive, my mother in law made sure to let everyone in the lobby know of her plans to tie me to the roof of the car. Actually, while we were walking into the restaurant, I heard her telling a woman none of us know, ‘If she gets any bigger we will have to tie her to the roof of the car like they did the dead grandmother in the movie, Vacation.’ I’m not sure what she said before that, and I’m not even sure I remember what was said after that because I could only focus on not beating her in public. I know the future is scary! But I don’t know what it will hold. All I know is I can’t take the baby and run! I love my husband too much!

Gandalf, as my father in law has named the baby girl growing inside me, isn’t ready to make her appearance just yet. But when she does, I know life will only get more and more interesting. For now, I can only look back at those good interesting days when my in-laws barely spoke to me…or to Lucas.

After meeting her the first time, I knew I wasn’t going to have to work hard to impress the mother of the man I knew I wanted to marry. First of all, she barely spoke to anyone, and second she didn’t seem to care much about the world around her. So to me, that simply meant as long as her son was happy, she probably would be happy as well. My new fiancé’s father was pretty much the same, only as long as he had food in front of him, he was enormously happy. They didn’t seem to care much about getting to know me or letting me know just what they thought of me…until my fiancé asked them to leave his home. They had moved in eight months prior for a short, three month stay while their house was being renovated. At six months, Lucas was becoming agitated, but being the good son, never said anything to his parents about having doubled their stay in his home. Two months after he began to wonder how to speed up the renovation process, he just spoke up one night while they were spilling food on his couch and we were getting ready to grab another dinner out. Dinners out usually meant he’d take an overnight bag to my apartment and stay with me for the night – at least. That night I watched salsa drop onto the couch twice, chuckled a little to myself and started to head for the door when I heard. “I expect this renovation will be complete enough for you to move back into your house within the next three weeks.” Lucas took my hand and we walked out the door.

Two weeks later, they were gone. They left a few wrapped DVDs on the couch, Christmas presents for Lucas, and never told him where they were going. Rumor within the family was I was moving in. It was another year or so before that happened, but now I think they felt Lucas wanted them out so I could move in. Lucas wanted them out so he could be a thirty year old man with a life inside his own home. The following October, Lucas proposed to me, I said yes and moved into that house not too long after I had a pretty ring on my finger.

It was time to tell his parents he was getting married! Lucas found them at their renovated home; with light switches hanging from holes in the cement walls, various fixtures lying around and clearly the one pan they were using to cook sitting on a counter littered with tools. It had been more than a year since the renovation had begun. Lucas told me later the house had pretty much looked the same the last time he was inside. Clearly not much renovating had happened in the year since they’d left the safe haven of Lucas’ townhouse. Lucas reintroduced me, but this time as his fiancé. He told them the date and destination of our wedding scheduled for the following spring and said he’d like it if they would come. Our meeting with them was about as long as the initial greeting. It went something like this, ‘Mom, Dad, you remember Rebekah, my fiancé? We’re getting married in June of next year in Las Vegas. I hope you can come. We have to get going. Buh-Bye.’ Okay, maybe not quite that informal, but regardless, from that moment my relationship with these people forever changed.