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Monday, March 12, 2018 personal story

I downloaded an app called Headspace a couple of weeks ago on the idea that meditation is not sitting in a ghastly uncomfortable pose or chanting mantras to a statue; but to help calm the mind down. That's all I was after anyway, right?

Well, I love the little animations that these guys use (and their accents btw) to help us analyze how our brains work if relaxed or how to de-stress or just thinking differently.

I am a huge skeptic, but I gave it a fair shot...the first three nights I did great. I pulled up the app and did the guided section (which can be as short as three minutes, which is great for ADD folks like myself). Everytime it guided me into (mostly blissful sleep) or at least relaxed me just by breathing deeply.

The 4th night, I forgot and went back on day 5, ha ha. I skipped over the animation (told you I was ADD) I just wanted to get to the good part. The breathing and chillaxing.

A bonus to me is that they recommend tall posture while sitting or similar; I did this every night propped against three pillows (don't judge, LOL) and still was able to fill the lungs pretty well.
Long story short, I enjoyed my trial with them :) I just wish I could do so is $30 a month :(  I am unemployed and starving artist/author so very tough to raise those greenbacks, but when/if I do, I would definitely return to Headspace.

Have you tried meditation? Which method? What did it do for you?

Cheers! Steph

New SALE price to welcome Complications" :)

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Sunday, March 4, 2018

Read an Ebook Week at Smashwords! March 4 - 10

For one week only, my entire list available at Smashwords is 50% off!

Use Coupon Code REA50

Here are the available titles: (click to go to my author page)
Ranch Hands
Ranch Hands 2: Jerry's Season
Ice Fairy
Ice Fairy 2: Decisions
Love by the Numbers
For the Heart of Phillip
Refugees (FTHOP continued)
Bernard; Diary of a 46-yr-old Bellhop
Lust in London

Friday, March 2, 2018

Guest Blogger: Dani Hoots!

Please give a warm welcome to my guest this week: Dani Hoots

Title: Professional Secret
Series: My Broken Heart
Author: Dani Hoots

It was good news to Heinrich when he found out he was getting promoted to assistant manager at his office, but when he found out he would be going on a business trip with his boss Christoph, he knew he had to try his best to not let his true feelings towards his boss show. But after a couple of drinks on the business trip, can he keep those feelings to himself? And what if the impossible happened and Christoph had those same feelings as well?

*All the My Broken Heart short stories are independent and don't need to be read in order.

“Heinrich, can you come to my office for a second?” Christoph, our boss called from down the hallway. I glanced at Charles and Jonathan. They gave me their ‘uh-oh, what did you do to get called into the boss’ office’ look. Then, as usual, I gave them my ‘I don’t know, should I be worried’ look. I rarely got called into Christoph’s office, and when I did, usually I wasn’t in trouble or any- thing.
I finished up my last inputs in the computer and got up from my desk, and took a deep breath. I didn’t want to get yelled at, even though I didn’t think I messed anything up this week. Al- though he wasn’t as bad as the boss upstairs, who laid into Christoph more times than I could count, he still was pretty intimidating. Charles and Jonathan mouthed ‘good luck’ and I headed into Christoph’s office.
The office itself was neat and tidy. Nothing was ever out of place, I swore he was OCD or something. It was a contradiction to everyone else’s office space, which were covered in papers, staples, and clips (even though when you needed one you could never find it and have to borrow someone else’s). While everyone found his tendencies quite annoying, I found them a bit...
I would never say that out loud, though. Who knows what people in the office would think if they knew...
Christoph swiveled around to face me, and I always have to keep myself from blushing when he looks directly at me with his emerald eyes. His brown hair was rather on the messy side today, as if he might have pulled an all-nighter at the office. It was always hard to tell since his of- fice clothes all looked the same; white shirt, black tie, black suit, black shoes. Every day. He really did work himself into the ground sometimes, and I always want to tell him to relax, but it’s not my place.
“Heinrich, please sit,” he gestured towards the chair.
My heart started to race. Usually he didn’t make someone sit down unless he was going to chew them out. This week had been going so well, too.
“There’s a meeting next week in Brussels, with all the company managers. Usually the as- sistant managers come as well, and as you know, Frank is retiring in two weeks, so his job is going to be open, and there is no point in bringing him along when he is going to be leaving,” Christoph explained.
I just looked at him a bit confused. “Okay...”
“What I’m saying is, you are up for promotion, so what do you say to an assistant manager position? And coming to the meeting in Brussels?”
“You are giving the promotion to me?”
“Yes, I think you are the most qualified for the job. Your work has improved a lot over the past few months and I think this promotion could help you improve even more. What do you say?”
I didn’t even need to think about it. “Yes, of course.”
“Good. We leave Monday morning for Brussels and should be back early Wednesday. We will be sharing a room, is that okay?”
“Oh, uh, yeah, that’s fine.” Because normally sharing a room is fine. It’s not like I could say ‘no, I would feel uncomfortable since I have had feelings towards you since we first met’. I had to act like everything was fine, it was only for two nights anyway, and it’s not like he would recipro- cate the feelings anyway. It would stay professional, as it always did.
“Well then, I will see you at the train station. Our train leaves at a quarter after seven. I ex- pect you there no later than seven. Should be platform four.”
“I will be there bright and early, you can count on that.”
“Good.” With that, he went back to work, which I took as my cue to leave his office. As I closed his door behind me, Charles and Jonathan gestured to come to their cubicle.
“So,” Jonathan looked concerned. “What’s the verdict?”
I simply grinned. “You are looking at the new assistant manager of the company.”

We celebrated with drinks that night at the local pub, Jonathan, Charles, and I. We ordered

steins, of course, because that’s what you did when you celebrated a raise, or anything I suppose, according to Jonathan and Charles. I was worried that they would be a little mad at me, since they had been with the company a little longer than I. They seemed okay with it, though, and were gen- uinely happy for me.
I ordered a Haufbrau dunkel, and Charles and Jonathan ordered Paulaners. They usually gave me crap about not supporting our football team by drinking Paulaner. Tonight they didn’t say anything though. Tonight they just wanted to celebrate something.
Our drinks came out and we yelled ‘prost’, and clinked our heavy glasses together and took a drink. Charles, of course, downed the most.
“Well then,” Jonathan set his drink down. “Assistant manager. How did you manage that?” I shrugged. “I really don’t know. Guess Christoph just liked my work.”
“Sure, like we believe that. What, did you hook him up with some girl or something?”

Charles laughed. Jonathan and him clanked drinks again and chugged some more down. I could feel my cheeks redden even more as I took a drink, ignoring the comment. These two were my best of friends, but I couldn’t tell them the truth, that I was gay. I feared how they would view me, that they would stop talking to me. I didn’t want that happen, so I kept my mouth shut when it came to any conversation about a girl. Hopefully I just came off shy or something to them. They were usually drinking, so their attention span was short and I never had to worry. But still.
Jonathan slapped his hand on my back. “We joke, but seriously we are very happy for you.”
I knew that they were, the two of them were my best friends and had been for the past few years. I hoped that we would all be able to work together for years to come, and drink after promo-
tions just like this. I would be getting a new office, I knew, which then I wouldn’t be seeing the two of them as much. But we would meet up at lunch, I was sure, and after work for a beer or two.
Taking another drink, I began to wonder what the trip was going to be like with Christoph. I knew it would be fine, I was more worried about the responsibility than anything else. Much was expected of me in the next week and I just hoped I would succeed in the tasks that would be laid out for me.
I woke up on Saturday with a little bit of a headache. I shouldn’t have let Charles and

Jonathan talk me into having schnapps.
Yet, every time we celebrated, I found myself waking up with regret.
It wasn’t anything a little coffee couldn’t handle. I got up and started up the pot to brew.

Meanwhile, I picked up the book I had been reading, and leaned back on the couch for a bit. I swore I had the slowest pot in the history of pots. It always took forever for the coffee maker to finish fill- ing. I needed to get a new one but I always seemed to forget when I was at the store, or make some excuse to put it off another day. I could go get one today, but then again I should work on research- ing about the company in case any one asked questions, and make sure any loose ends are tied be- fore I start my new position.
See? Excuses.
The coffee finally finished and I added a bit of cream and sugar. Taking a sip, I decided that no matter what, it would never taste as good as it would if I bought it at a cafe. Why that was, prob- ably because they add so much caramel and sweetener and I wouldn’t admit how much they really added. So many calories, now I realized.
The headache started to go away thanks to the caffeine and I decided that it would be a good idea to start researching more into the company that I would be representing. Sorry coffee pot, you shall be pushed back to another day yet again.
There wasn’t much to look up, to be honest, as I had researched much about the company when I first started working there. I did need to finish my work in my old position as soon as I could so that I wouldn’t worry about dumping a project half done on some poor worker who has no idea where it was going. I would be leaving Monday and would be starting the new job soon, as Frank was retiring and finishing up any projects he was already working on. I couldn’t wait to start, I truly couldn’t. This is what I had been working on for years, to get to this position. I wasn’t a slacker, I did everything I could do to be promoted. And now it all had paid off.
And I would be working closely with Christoph. That part of it I liked and didn’t like at the same time. I admitted to myself that I had feelings for him, feelings that I would never share with anyone. Although, discrimination against LGBT in the workplace is illegal in Germany, it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be looked at the same way, judged and the like. I just wanted to fit in and go on with my life as normal.
The only problem was, I couldn’t stop thinking about Christoph. I wanted to say something, I truly did, but I knew that he didn’t feel the same about me. There was no way. I tried to forget about him, go out and meet other guys, but none of them were Christoph. None of them made me blush or my heart race like he did. So after a while, I gave up on looking for someone else. It just wasn’t going to happen, not right now at least.
So working close with him was going to be a challenge, not that I could stay professional, that wasn’t a problem for me, but I knew the feeling I would get in my stomach and in my heart every time I saw him, which now would be a lot more often than not.
And I would be going on a business trip with him in just a couple of days. Great...
But I would get past it. I never let my feelings get in the way of my work. It was unprofes- sional and I wouldn’t allow myself to ever say anything.
Unless he said something first, of course. I wasn’t getting my hopes up, though. 

Author website:

Monday, February 26, 2018

Cats, Yarn, and Words

I've had some time to process the loss of my baby girl, Cali, last Tuesday. Strange what losing a beloved animal will do to you and make you look at your life. I have been reeling for days and finally have narrowed my 'hobbies' down to a top list of three great loves of my world:

Cats, Yarn, and Words

Cats...obviously. Above is my baby boy, Jack, who has been my buddy since he was adopted as a tiny kitten. (yes, he was tiny once). This 19 lb behemoth of a cuddler is the main focus of my life, especially since the tragic loss of his sister.
He is diabetic, but takes his shots like a champ. He is pretty healthy otherwise, thank goodness!  He gets pancreatic attacks that make him sick all day and all night at times, but he gets medication and it helps.

Yarn...ha ha seems to go hand-in-hand with cats, right?  Don't let them play with it, I implore you. My first cat, Katie, ingested some and it came out the other end...ewwwwwwwwwwwww! It can wrap around their stomach and kill them. Seriously, watch the yarn.
OK, enough PSA...I love to knit and can even crochet (it just always ends up a little 'off'). ha ha. I love regular straight needle patterns (if I even follow one). I usually make up my own and run with it. Nowadays I knit for friends, or donate my creations to cat shelters.

Words...this should be obvious having written 12 books so far (plus 18 more with co-authors). I've been writing since I knew how and hope to never stop. Even if they never sell, even if they're seen as goody-two-shoes or too 'safe' for the horrific world we live in, I don't care. I love my boys, my style, and I will write purely for my love if nobody else's.

This is more of a Monday morning brain dump, if not anything grander....but I wanted to share my loves with you, my followers, fans, and friends.

Have a good Monday if you can!


Friday, February 23, 2018

Guest Blogger, Sean McKissack

Hello again! This week I host author Sean McKissack and his book To be a Different Someone


James Kane could be summed up in one word: loser. He silently lived as a ghost amongst his parents and he had zero friends at school...unless you count his cousin who had to defend him against the abusive Matt Tracker. When his parents divorce, James moves to Montana and stays with his grandmother, where he makes an extreme adjustment to his life-becoming a different someone named Jennifer. The transition comes with frightening issues Jennifer never thought of. After two years of recovery, she returns to her old high school to start over but she meets up with her past tormentor and gets caught in a web of secrets as she finds herself falling in love. Her conscience gets the best of her as she tries to be truthful to Matt about who she once was, but will he accept her as his girlfriend when she tells him about their past?

Buy Link:

Thursday, February 22, 2018

In Memoriam...

My precious little Cali lost the fight Tuesday morning after a long, touch-n-go weekend that included an ER vet and her regular vet.  She had just turned 18.

End stage kidney disease, hyperthyroid (newly discovered) and high glucose was too much for this little angel. She weighed only 6 lbs as it was. When it was the end, she weighed 5.

This little darling meant the world to all of us (both my ex hubby and current) and myself. She was a very vocal, lively, moody, silly, adorable, beautiful girl and she will be missed beyond description.

If you have furbabies, let them know what they mean to you now, in this life. I am wracked with guilt over every time I got frustrated or missed a sign...but she is in the best place possible now and knows how much we loved her.

Rest in Peace, Cali! I await you over the Rainbow Bridge