• Stephanie Hammond

Fear! So debilitating

Have you ever been scared? I don’t mean of the boogie man or spiders or snakes - I mean of living, of every day activities, like swimming, or climbing trees, or riding a bike. As a kid I was scared of everything physical, especially of drowning. These stayed with me into adulthood. One day, in my late 20s, we were at a friend’s house for a swim in their new pool. He picked me up and jumped into the pool with me. I vomited - I was so scared! And horrified. I made a commitment then that I was going to overcome that fear. I took swimming lessons, but still couldn't swim. Then one day I had the opportunity to learn to scuba dive. One of the criteria was to be able to swim. I lied, and I did the course. It soon became apparent to the instructors and they stayed close to me, encouraging me and rejoicing with me. I went diving a few times, thoroughly enjoying being in the water, swimming with the fishes. Life took over and the scuba diving stopped. But that experience helped me overcome that fear and I went on to swim fearlessly in the sea, have an underwater experience off the coast of Cairns, as well as feeling relaxed in swimming pools, and participate fully in a dragon boat competition. It was during the latter that I knew my fear was gone. As we rowed back to the Basin in Wellington, a shark accompanied us - swimming parallel with, and about 5 metres from, me. All I could think was what a beautiful creature! I wasn't afraid of it, or of our capsizing, or anything.

Overcoming my fear of drowning also gave me courage to overcome my fear of heights and I went on to climb Mt Beerwah, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, with my daughter, walk on the scaffolding of the Auckland Harbour Bridge, ride in a hot-air balloon, and enjoy the rides at the theme parks.

Now when I feel the fears I smile at myself and know I'll be able to, if not eliminate them, at least live a wonderfully adventurous life in spite of my fears. So well worth it.

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Last Days in Atlantis. (Historical fantasy - for young adult+ audience)

Mari is thrust into a position of responsibility as the warrior leader of the Atlantean Hill People before she's ready. She strives to make choices that are best for her and her people against a backdrop of deception and intrigue. She becomes entangled in the power struggles between her people and the rulers of the City of the Golden Gates. 

Events test her trust in the traditions of her people and her confidence in those who are dear to her: the Elders, her mother, and the young man she is expected to share her future with.  Mari believes she has failed the task and struggles to overcome her feelings of grief, guilt, and betrayal as she strives to survive the tumult around her. 

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This is the first of my children's stories about Beatrice, a young angel-in-training with one large wing. Beatrice Learns Compassion, offering a different approach to bullying, was illustrated by my granddaughter, Bella, when she was 10-years-old. It's suited to children of all ages.

The Kindle version is available from Amazon. Print copies are available to purchase through the contact page