Sheryl Steines

I like the quirky, I like the Funny


In Honor of Nurses


Posted By on May 7, 2015

It’s Nurse Appreciation Week and I’ve been re-tweeting and sharing statements on Facebook and Twitter about how much nurses are super heroes. So I decided to share my personal experience with nurses and why they’re not just empty shares and tweets.

On April 24, 1998 at 10:11 and 10:13 pm I gave birth to two beautiful little girls. My daughter Stephanie was born first, and after fertility issues, a miserable pregnancy and a long labor, Stephanie was delivered. And when my daughter didn’t move or make a sound, my first thought was, “Now What?”

Kayla came into the world two minutes later crying and screaming, healthy and alive. Stephanie, fragile with an unknown disorder, was transferred to a neo natal unit at a different hospital as the doctors and nurses did all they could to keep my daughter alive, where she lived the first three months of her life.

It was heartbreaking, bittersweet and I was scared. And every time I went to the hospital, it was awful, watching the monitors drop and beep and not understand at that time that what was happening.

Unsure and tentative, I remember one day talking to my baby over her crib, she looking up at me best she could as her muscles degenerated, becoming weaker. The nurse saw my apprehension to pick up my child, came over and lifted Stephanie’s head and in a tiny voice, the nurse spoke for my daughter and said, “But mommy, I’m only a baby.”

I will never forget that turning point moment when I realized I could do this. I could care for my child. With the nurses support, I learned the medical and that she was a baby and holding her, kissing her and cuddling, might not be as easy but it was doable and necessary.

I have stories, so many of them; the time the nurse encouraged me to record my voice for my daughter while she was at the hospital, or the nurse who helped me make calls to find my daughter a car seat because there were none that a child could lie down in, or the pediatric hospice nurse, who listened to things I couldn’t tell another soul but that I needed to say to someone, only she understood, who also came to the house when my daughter died even though we no longer had hospice care.

They are angels on earth, give of themselves, supportive to families in the confusing, frustrating world of medicine. I will never forget and I owe them a great deal of gratitude. Thank you to the nurses who are on the front lines. We families in our time of need appreciate the love, care and support you give.

Read More
Introvert to Sales Goddess

Introvert to Sales Goddess


Posted By on Apr 19, 2015

introverttosalesgoddessI had everything intention of taking Introvert to Sales Goddess off of Amazon. It hadn’t sold and frankly, with things in my life, there wasn’t time to properly market the book.

Not that I’m not proud of the story, it was deeply personal, there were other things that I needed to accomplish.

On the day I planned to take the book down, I received an email from a reviewer, advising me she just put a review on Amazon, and hoped she wasn’t too early. With a weird twist of fate she received a request sent last August.

It was a nice review, much appreciated, and it made me think maybe I was too hasty to remove it. My goal with the book, share my experiences as an introvert and how difficult it can be to work outside your comfort zone.

All I’ve ever wanted to be was a writer and yet it’s been difficult to find my voice. Introvert to Sales Goddess is a small step as I discover what I’m capable of doing and the voice that’s been buried for years. If it helps anyone find themselves it’s worth the effort.

Sometimes we have to put faith in ourselves and trust that our instincts are good. Good things will come when we do.

 

 

 

Read More

Check out this excerpt from #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy’s first book in the Callaway family series…Then Read on for more information about this blog tour and all its great prizes!   Her father stared back at her, his eyes dark and unreadable. “Why are you here, Sara?” “I wanted to be here for your birthday. It’s been a long time since we’ve shared more than an email. We should talk, catch up with each other.” “Why on earth would you want to talk to me?” The confusion in his eyes made her realize just how far apart they’d drifted. “Because you’re my father. You’re my family. We’re the only ones left.” “Do you need money?” “This isn’t about money. Mom would not have wanted us to end up like strangers. We need to improve our relationship.” He stared back at her for a long moment, then said, “There’s nothing left for you here, Sara. I wish you well, but we both need to move on. If you stay, it won’t go well. We’ll only disappoint each other.” Her chest tightened, the finality of his words bringing pain as well as anger. Her father was like a brick wall. She kept throwing herself at him, trying to break through his resistance, but all she ever achieved was a new batch of emotional bruises. “You’re a grown woman now,” he added. “You don’t need a father.” “Not that I ever really had one,” she countered, surprising herself a little with the words. She was used to holding her tongue when it came to her dad, because talking usually made things worse. “I did my best.” “Did you?” A tickle caught at her throat and her eyes blurred with unwanted tears. She had not come here to cry. She sniffed, wondering why the air felt so thick. It took a minute to register that it was not her emotions that were making her eyes water, but smoke. The same awareness flashed in her father’s eyes. “Damn,” he swore. “The kitchen—I was cooking—” He ran out of the room, and she followed him down the stairs, shocked by how thick the smoke was in the entry. She was on her dad’s heels when he entered the kitchen. The scene was unbelievable. Flames shot two feet in the air off a sizzling pot on the stove. The fire had found more fuel in a stack of newspapers on the counter that had been left too close to the burner, those sparks leaping to the nearby curtains. Her father grabbed a towel and tried to beat out some of the flames, but his efforts only seemed to make things worse. Embers flew everywhere, finding new places to burn, the heat growing more and more intense. Moving to the sink, she turned on the faucet and filled up a pitcher, but it was taking too long to get enough water. She threw some of it at the fire, but it made no difference. “Move aside,” her dad shouted, grabbing two hot pads. “What are you doing?” she asked in confusion. He tried to grab the pot and move it to the sink, but she was in the way, and he stumbled, dropping the pot in the garbage. She jumped back from an explosion of new fire. “We have to call 911,” she said frantically. But there was no phone in the kitchen, and her cell phone was in her bag by the entry. “Let’s get out of here.” Her father was still trying to put out the fire, but he was getting nowhere. “Dad, please.” “Get out, Sara,” he said forcefully, then ran into the adjacent laundry room. “Wait! Where are you going?” “I have to get something important,” he yelled back at her. “Dad. We need to get out of the house.” She coughed out the words, but she might as well have remained silent because her dad had vanished through the laundry room and down the back stairs to the basement. She couldn’t imagine what he had to get. There was nothing but gardening tools and cleaning supplies down there. She started to follow him, then jumped back as the fire caught the wallpaper next to her head, sizzling and leaping towards her clothing. “Dad,” she screamed. “We need to get out of the house.” A crash echoed through the house. Then all she could hear was the crackling of the fire. Sara ran through the flames and down the stairs into the basement. A single light bulb dangled from a wire over the stairs, showing her father in a crumpled heap on the cement floor. She dropped to her knees next to his still body. He was unconscious, blood under his head, and his right leg was twisted in an odd position. She put a hand on his chest. His heart was still beating. “Dad,” she said. “Wake up.” He blinked groggily. “Sara?” he asked in confusion. “What are you doing here?” “The kitchen is on fire. We need to get out of the house.” A glance back over her shoulder revealed smoke pouring through the open door at the top of the stairs. There was no way out of the basement without going through the kitchen. Her father tried to sit up, but quickly fell back, groaning with pain. “My leg is broken. You go.” “I can’t leave you here. That’s not an option.” “You can’t carry me. Go. Get help.” “I’ll be right back,” she promised. She ran up the stairs, shocked and terrified when she saw how much worse the fire had gotten in literally minutes. The heat was intense. She could barely breathe, and there was a wall of flames between her and the only way out. She couldn’t afford to be scared. Grabbing a towel off the top of the nearby washing machine, she covered her nose and mouth, and prepared to make a dash for it. Before she could move, a figure appeared on the other side of the flames—a man. A wave of relief swept through her. Help had arrived. He barreled through the fire and smoke, batting away the flames as if they were troublesome bees. When he stopped in front of her, her heart jumped again. “Aiden?” She lowered the towel from her face. He was the last Callaway she wanted to see.

About the Callaway Blog Tour & All Its Great Prizes!

This is the week you finally meet the Callaways! Not only are they all over the web as part of their extraordinary blog tour, but they are also out and about in your neighborhood. That’s right; we’re celebrating the print launch with Ingram by throwing a party all over the world! Make sure to follow this tour closely for your chance to win gift cards, swag, autographed books, and other incredible prizes. All the info you need to join the fun and enter to win amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment—easy to enter; easy to win! To Win the Prizes:

  1. Purchase any of the Callaway novels by Barbara Freethy (optional)
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity (go here)
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event (that’s where the HUGE prizes are)

About The Callaways: The Callaways were born to serve and protect! In Barbara’s new connected family series, each of the eight siblings in this blended Irish-American family find love, mystery and adventure, often where they least expect it! Each book stands alone, but for the full enjoyment of the series, you might want to start at the beginning with On A Night Like This! Get the eBooks via AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, or Kobo. About the Author: Barbara Freethy has been making up stories most of her life. Growing up in a neighborhood with only boys and a big brother who was usually trying to ditch her, she spent a lot of time reading. When she wasn’t reading, she was imagining her own books. After college and several years in the P.R. field, she decided to try her hand at a novel. Now Barbara is a #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author loved by readers all over the world. Her novels range from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women’s fiction. Learn more on her websiteFacebook page, or in her Street Team.

Read More

RevisedCallawaySlides091414-copy1

About On A Night Like This, Book #1 of the Callaway Series

From #1 NY Times Bestselling Author, Barbara Freethy, comes a romantic new contemporary series about the Callaways, a big, blended Irish family born to serve and protect.

The second oldest of the Callaway clan, Aiden Callaway veered from the family tradition of urban firefighting and became a smokejumper, never questioning his choice until the job took the life of his friend, Kyle, and left Aiden with injuries and fractured memories. Everyone blames Aiden for what happened, but he doesn’t remember, nor is he sure he wants to remember. The truth may clear Aiden of blame but destroy Kyle’s reputation and hurt the people he left behind.

Aiden seeks help from an unlikely ally …

Sara had always been untouchable, sweet, innocent, his sister’s best friend, and the girl next door. But one reckless night in their youth took their relationship to a new level. Sara has never forgiven or forgotten the way Aiden brought it crashing down, but she’s no longer that girl with the crazy crush. She’s a woman in search of her own truth.

The sparks between Aiden and Sara have been smoldering for a very long time. Sara is afraid to take another chance on a man who broke her heart, and Aiden knows better than anyone how dangerous an intense fire can be.

As teenagers they weren’t ready for each other. Are they ready now?

ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS is the first book in an eight book connected contemporary romance series featuring the intriguing Callaway family. Love, mystery, adventure — the Callaways have it all!

About the Author

71LxXqLeiZL._UX250_Barbara Freethy is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of 40 novels. Traditionally published for many years, in 2011 Barbara began self-publishing her backlist and has sold over 5 million ebooks and as of today she is the bestselling KDP Author of ALL TIME! Nineteen of her titles have appeared on the NY Times and USA Today bestseller lists. Her book SUMMER SECRETS hit #1 on the New York Times and remained on the list for seven weeks.

Barbara writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense and women’s fiction. She is known for writing emotional and compelling stories about love and family, sometimes with a little suspense, sometimes with a little magic.

Read More

When you’re in a rut, it’s not so easy to pull yourself out and move onwards, upwards or outwards. I started my big plan with a tweak to my diet and exercise plan. My body is working better, though not as better as I was hoping for. I’ve cut a lot of bad stuff out except for chocolate covered raisins. Those seem to be my downfall.

As I keep working on the eating healthier and exercising  less lazily, I’ve also been on a quest to take advantage of opportunities and visit with friends I haven’t seen in a while. There’s something about being with people who have seen you at your best and at your worst, who have a history with you and know you. It’s spending time with Marilyn and watching The Breakfast Club in the theater and laughing at what we once were and the people we’ve become. There’s also that realization that we are now the parents and our kids look at us like we’re complete and total idiots while at the same time, I’m still that know-it-all teen who’s laughing at the principal because he’s still a jerk and I’m not really 46 years old. But it’s also realizing that the last time I saw that movie in the theater, the audience was a whole lot younger.

breakfast club

It’s about sitting in the restaurant and waiting for Jodi for thirty minutes. And when I finally call her, we find out we’re both sitting in the front of the restaurant waiting for each other on the opposite side of a big ass pole. It’s something we would do and it’s something we laugh about. And even though I don’t see her all that often, we always seem to pick up right where we left off. It’s nice to slip back into the old routine without trying hard.

best-friends27

I still have one more friend I’d like to catch up with. Someone I’ve known since I came home from the hospital after my birth. She’s always just been there, and its far too long since we’ve seen each other last. Thankfully there’s Facebook to catch up with her. It can be hard to reconnect and find room in busy lives for a new/old friend, but that connection is always worth it.

Life is not always about thinking things through, or making plans. It’s sometimes simply about being asked and saying yes, because who doesn’t want an unexpected call from someone you like who asks you to see an 80’s cover band, and oh yeah, they’ll pick me up in 5 minutes. You never know what these experiences will bring, maybe a new friend or maybe is as simple as reliving the songs from high school.

There’s still plenty more things I want to do. Things that might challenge or are simply different from what I’ve done before. In the end, I hope to have my friends around me and my mind open and productive, and a few goofy, funny, and nostalgic experiences that I hadn’t expected.

It’s all about openness. Next up, the American Ninja Warrior training gym…Maybe, yes, no, anyone?

 

 

 

Read More
Becoming Lola – Day 1

Becoming Lola – Day 1


Posted By on Mar 1, 2015

It’s time I reinvent myself. I’m thinking of dyeing my hair orange and calling myself Lola. (Nov 24, 2014)

The last six months have been some of the worst both personally and professionally. I’m sorry if I haven’t been happy for some of you in your successes or supportive of some of you when you’ve been at your worst. And as I try to figure out whereto go from here, I had a very weird epiphany in the shower this morning. Day one starts today… (Feb 28, 2015)

This is what the world sees of me on the outside. Put together, shiny, okay. But after the last six months, after the last sixteen in a half years of raising children, that’s not me. As my life on the outside seems rather normal and put together, on the inside it’s chaotic and I feel like I’m constantly living on the edge of the storm being sucked in at regular intervals.


This is me. Everything gets shoved into a disorganized mess, because I can’t keep up. My closets are the same way. Everything gets tossed aside, forgotten. Messy piles of disorganization.

This website is much like my life. I started three years ago to become an expert in fantasy and science fiction to coordinate with the sale of my first book The Day of First Sun. But as I struggled with the book and a job I didn’t like, I wrote a book about the struggles of being an introvert trying to sell sponsorships. My focus on the website has been about that. And now my website is a bit schizophrenic and doesn’t know what it is. Much like me. I wish sometimes the world would stop and give me 24 hours just so I can sort through everything, clean it up and try to fix the ills.

frustrationMy children both have issues that need attention and because of that our family is scattered, fighting to stay above water, mostly alone. While I wallow in all of this mess, an epiphany hit me in the shower.  More of a plan. I decided I would seek out experiences. Some outside my comfort zone, and others, just to try something new.

Today is day one. With the stress of a depressed child and one with debilitating anxiety, I’ve gained some weight. Not much but enough to no longer fit into my clothes. I’ve lost muscle mass, my lower back and stomach hurt. Day one is a restart of the plan that I currently live daily, though I’ve gotten lazy and cheat too much, because I’m a stress eater. This time I’m determined to follow the plan with more dedication and less cheating. Body for Life has been my go to for years. When I follow it, I’m stronger, healthier and happier. And today is killing me as I retrain my brain to eat what I’m supposed when I should be eating it. I’ll cheat on my cheat day next Saturday. I can hardly wait. So the point of day one is, before I can fix the rest of my life, I fix this.

I share because someone else might benefit, someone else might realize they’re not alone and that some times is helpful. I’m finding my voice but not letting these issues hold me back any longer. I have a plan. I’ll be learning new things, going outside my comfort zone. Though I don’t plan on running a marathon or climbing Mt. Everest, I will try to train for a 5 K (as long as my back holds out) and I desperately want to take lessons at the American Ninja Warrior Gym I found on-line. Yeah, I’m a fan. Some like reality television, I like me some obstacle courses.

There’s more on my list that I’m keeping a secret. But I promise I’ll share. I also promise that I’ll take into consideration any suggestions as long as they don’t involve deep water. I’m terrified and trust me I’ve tried to overcome that. Or anything that could endanger my back, because I lifted my yoga mat funny and was in pain for three weeks.

Some adventures I’ll share with my kids others will be solely my own. In the end, I hope I come out of the stress and anxiety with a greater sense of who I am. Less chaotic, with a greater ability to help my kids, and a plan on how to achieve the dream I’ve had since I was seven, being a writer. Wish me luck!

Read More

The Day of First Sun - Copy to Use I was 7 years old when I read my first Nancy Drew book. There was something in that smart girl that resonated me and I wanted to read every book about her. But the inspiration didn’t stop there, it was then that I realized I wanted to be a writer.

Finally in a place that I could write a book, it took all of 6 weeks from start to finish, all 170 pages of it. After several draft attempts I self published and after writing book 2 I hired marketing help.

I admit fully that I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know how to edit, forget about the marketing. And after a horrible book release for book 2, I was 5 minutes away from quitting. That’s where I’ve been for over 2 years as I try to figure out the rest of my life as a non writer. But I still come back to the writing and the not quitting on the dream.

I’ve been lucky because had I not gone down that road, I wouldn’t have met a collective group of great, smart women who have taught me some of what they know about marketing, writing and editing. And I would have learned nothing.

The biggest lesson I could pass on to aspiring writers is this, when you are done with a draft, put it away for at least 4 weeks and let it sink in before trying your hand at it again.

I chose to rewrite my first book for the second time because of the unsuccessful marketing attempts to sell my books. It was my own fault because I didn’t produce a good enough product, the premise was good but…

That is why I chose this major rewrite. I took a long look at the book and the series and pinpointed where I fell short. I took out chunks of the book, changed relationships and rewrote what turned out to be most of the book. Though the story is the same, it gets there in a different manner. One that I hope answers questions, feels complete, with characters that are worth reading about.

Why no one has said to me, your an awful writer you should quit, it beyond me. Over the last four years, I’ve had several people encourage me and give me just enough to say there’s something there, don’t quit.

I didn’t quit even though I’ve been 5 minutes from quitting since releasing my second book She Wulf. But I couldn’t quit. I needed to get it right. That’s why I re-wrote the book. This very unfamiliar feeling of being so sure of myself and my story that I needed to keep writing it until it was worthy of publishing.

Maybe now I’m 10 minutes from quitting, but at least in the end I know I’ve tried.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read More

The Mother Load


Posted By on Jan 4, 2015

I spent the last day of 2014 and the first two days of 2015 crying. Partially because I dislike my job and would prefer be doing anything other than what I am doing, but mostly because I’m emotionally exhausted.

There is this idea that the new year is a great time to reflect and resolve to change something, improve on ourselves. I don’t necessarily make new year’s resolutions, but this year, the bad stuff that I endured during 2014, hit me hard and left me feeling as though I had just flown into a brick wall.

I’m no stranger to bad things. I gave birth to twins 16 1/2 years ago after enduring fertility issues and a bad pregnancy. one twin, was born with a neuromuscular disorder that claimed her life at 11 months old. I thought after the stress of caring for a terminally ill child and the pain of watching her die was my stumbling block, my brick wall, my pain that I would move on from and live my life.

But life is chaos and you can’t necessarily be certain that you only have one hell to live through. As it turns out, I was still to live through post partum depression and to come out it to endure with my second daughter debilitating anxiety.  Light breezes to stormy winds, had her hiding in the basement. She spent time with the social worker, a therapist and a psychologist all in the hopes of helping her come out into the open. It was hard, being present for the temper tantrum at the zoo, people watching my 10 year old child screaming because the wind was too much. It’s hard planning for the future when she choses not to live it thinking we’ll take care of her long past becoming an adult and having to teach her everything so she can deal with her future.

And when we finally came near the light at the end of the struggle, hell opened up once more. The youngest child, the one that found the joy in life, the one that was the happiest, tried everything and enjoyed herself, was depressed. Not the blues, not situational, but seriously depressed. She was going through something more than the average teenager as she navigated her world and came to conclusions about who she was. We all have those moments and most of us scrape by and move on, but when the pain is so overwhelming you need help through it, whether it be alcohol, drugs or in her case, self injury, it more than just average.

It’s the process of doctors and drugs and therapy. I’ve done it all before, but this time, it was protecting my teenager from herself, trying to keep her healthy and not trusting her with her own safety. It’s beyond stressful, and it’s exhausting.

I know I’m not alone in this journey. I’ve met several other parents through our work with the outpatient program who are living the same nightmare as me. And with every  hell I’ve found myself in, I move through it by taking one step at a time, baby steps. As long as I’m moving forward, I will eventually come to that light.

But this new year was almost too much to handle. To much sadness and too much feeling as though I’ve failed my kids somehow. Did I not read to them enough, was I too lenient? Too much feeling that I’m inadequate and not qualified. And after having my temper tantrums the ones that I so needed because I have never given in to them before, I realized it was time to really take stock of my life and see what it was all about.

I’m always five minutes away from shutting down my website, closing the Twitter account and removing my author page on Facebook. I almost decided to delete my novels from computer or at the very least store them elsewhere. Because the realization that I’m not good at any of this or not even a good writer hit me as did everything else.

And as I thought seriously about everything, I decided quitting wasn’t in my nature. Not this time. I can’t quit on the kids as much as I can’t quit on myself. Writing and creating is who I am, and at least with that, the writing is my therapy.

I can only hope that 2015 is a better year. That my kids grow into healthy young adults and that I no longer grimace as I hold back the tears. Maybe this is the year that I have a truly publishable book that I can proudly sell and that I start winning a few.

There’s only quitting or there’s pushing through whether we obtain our goals or not. We have one life and we need to do the best that we can with it.

There’s no woe is me and I expect no pity, only understanding that right now, it’s hard and I’m entitled to an occasional moment of doubt and the inevitable breakdown.

With everything, I find the positive. And I expect that 2015 will be better.

 

Read More