April 2016’s Reading List

While I no longer review or rate books I read, I’ve still had people ask me what books I’ve read, and liked or didn’t like about them. I decided that it might be fun to post what I’ve read in a monthly post with a sentence or two beside some on books on what I liked or didn’t like about a book if I think it might benefit others.

This month I didn’t have a lot of time to read other authors’ books. I’ve been reading through and editing My Lord Hades, An Angel in Tartarus, and Love is Blind to correct editing mistakes and prep them for their relaunch. I also needed to read through The Rebel’s Bride to figure out where I veered off course and Escaping Hell so I could start the rewrite of it in May.

Hopefully, I’ll get around to reading more of my To-Be Read Pile this next month. 😀

On a Barbarian World: The Phoenix Adventures by Anne Hacket

About the book: When an independent deep-space scout crash-lands on an unknown alien world, the last thing she expects is to find herself claimed by

Aurina Phoenix spends most of her time zooming through uncharted space and gathering intel for her family’s deep-space convoy, but her life takes an unexpected detour when a meteor shower brings down her ship. She finds herself on a barren, low-tech planet inhabited by dangerous beasts…and lands in the arms of a brawny barbarian warlord.

Markarian warrior Kavon Mal Dor is known for his skill in battle. He lives to protect his clan…and to avenge the murder of his father. Every move he makes is part of his grand plan for revenge, including finding a legendary sword and marrying a warlord’s daughter. But when a beautiful skyflyer crashes into his world, she is the one thing he never counted on.

Fighting their incendiary attraction, Aurina and Kavon make a deal: she’ll help him find the sword and in return, he’ll give her the emergency beacon she needs to get home. But as the search for the sword plunges them into a dangerous adventure they find themselves consumed by a powerful passion and questioning everything they’ve ever wanted.

My thoughts on the book: I loved the premise of an independent female pilot meeting a barbarian warrior and the ensuing clash between them. The trouble that Aurina gets herself into while on the strange planet had me laughing. There were times that I wanted to smack the characters upside the head for stupidity but on the whole the problems were understood and easy to forgive.

Among Galactic Ruins: The Phoenix Adventures by Anne Hacket

About the book: When astro-archeologist and museum curator Dr. Lexa Carter discovers a secret map to a lost old Earth treasure–a priceless Fabergé egg–she’s excited at the prospect of a treasure hunt to the dangerous desert planet of Zerzura. What she’s not so happy about is being saddled with a bodyguard–the museum’s mysterious new head of security, Damon Malik.

After many dangerous years as a galactic spy, Damon Malik just wanted a quiet job where no one tried to kill him. Instead of easy work in a museum full of artifacts, he finds himself on a backwater planet babysitting the most infuriating woman he’s ever met.

She thinks he’s arrogant. He thinks she’s a trouble-magnet. But among the desert sands and ruins, adventure led by a young, brash treasure hunter named Dathan Phoenix, takes a deadly turn. As it becomes clear that someone doesn’t want them to find the treasure, Lexa and Damon will have to trust each other just to survive.

My thoughts on the book: I really, really liked Damon character, more and more throughout the book. Lexa wasn’t my favorite character, but she was well paired with Damon. I disliked some of the main characters reaction to things. They seemed more forced for the sake of plot then how the characters should be acting.

Writing into the Dark: How to Write a Novel without an Outline by Dean Wesley Smith

About the book: In this WMG Writer’s Guide, Dean takes you step-by-step through the process of writing without an outline and explains why not having an outline boosts your creative voice and keeps you more interested in your writing.

Want to enjoy your writing more and entertain yourself? Then toss away your outline and Write into the Dark.

My thoughts on the book: I stumbled upon this one because of Dean’s blog and decided to give it a whirl. Even though I doubt I’ll every be one of those writers who writes into the dark, I found some of the information insightful and possibly helpful. Who knows I might try writing into the dark and surprise myself.

Happy reading,


What books are you reading?

My Lord Hades is Off to the Editor, Again

For those who don’t know, my grammar isn’t the best but it is getting better. It’s not that I don’t know the rules, its more of my creative voice goes wild during the writing and doesn’t shut up for the rewriting or editing stages.

For the last few years, I’ve wanted to have My Lord Hades re-edited as some very dear readers found mistakes my editor missed. There were way too many errors for my comfort. Why didn’t I catch them? Because I’ve read through My Lord Hades a hundred times by that time and probably could have recited it word for word. I knew what I wanted it say, not necessarily what it was saying.

My Lord Hades

Anyways, during my two month break I decided to get some business stuff done and printed it off to read through it. Last week I finished imputing the last of the corrections. Still found a lot of mistakes, which I cleaned up, and then I trimmed down some of the scenes which surprisingly didn’t lower the word count much.

After that I contacted the proofreader that did Death’s Lover to see when she had an opening. She came highly recommended and I loved working with her. So My Lord Hades is off to the proofreader today and while it’s being corrected I’ll be working on a series of retrospective blog posts for the relaunch of My Lord Hades in a couple of weeks.

Wishing you all the best,

Stephannie and Annes Signature

Don’t Feed the Trolls

Wow! It’s been ssssooooo long since I wrote a post here (looks like sometime in 2013), even though I’ve continued to lurk around checking things out. {Side Note: This article was first published on Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors.}

For whatever reason I just got an image of Batman, or would that be Batgirl, slinking around?

Anyhoo, there are so many new people here that I feel the need to introduce myself again.

Hello! *dorky grin and wave* My name is Stephannie Beman, I’m a writer. I write books.

And yes, I’m this awkward in person, possibly even more so.

Actual picture of me so you know who you're talking too. :D

Actual picture of me so you know whose talking.

Okay, now that the introductions are out of way, we can focus on the important stuff. The reason I decided to break my long silence and write this post.

Storytime

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there lived a group of people terrorized by Trolls. These were not the normal kind of trolls with an ugly countenance, giant tusks, long claws, and sharp teeth. These Trolls were the covert kind. The ones that looked like everyone else, hiding in plain sight. It was only through their actions that the truth of what they were was revealed.

These nasty, mean, awful beasties thrive on stalking their prey, destroying lives, causing self-doubt, and ruining the dreams of the people. But then the people started to learn an important secret about the snarling creatures.

Don’t feed the Trolls. It only makes them stronger.

By feeding the trolls ego the people were giving the trolls what they wanted. Control. These people learned a few ways to weaken the noxious influences of the trolls in their lives by….


Knowing That It’s About Them

Those who go around behaving in an abhorrent manner that reminds you of a raging toddler in adult form are trolls and you should tell yourself that it has very little, or more likely, nothing to do with you personally. Yes, I know the attack was probably personal in nature, they usually are. But it’s not about you. It’s all about them. It’s about who they are, their past experiences, their unmet desires, their inability to communicate in positive ways, their fears. Anger is just fear indulged and magnified in an unhealthy and hurtful manner.

That Sometimes It’s About You

Yes, sometimes you did or said something to contribute to the incident. However, that doesn’t mean you are to blame. If you said or did something they didn’t agree with, they could have taken their mom’s advice and walked away without saying a word. Nothing says that anyone has to agree with everyone’s opinions, but the trolls are the ones that feel justified in pointing it out in great and insulting detail why you are wrong. They want you to see it their way because it is the ‘only way’. It doesn’t mean it’s the truth, or even your truth.

Some trolls find insult in the smallest things, like the woman who was angry at me for “destroying the Persephone myth” in one of my stories by not following the myth to a ‘T’. Not only did she point it out in great detail what I did wrong, but she brought a few of her friends along to do the same. At the time I was a newbie author who took what she said to heart and it crushed me.

Why? Because I was afraid that she was right about my ability to tell a good story, a deep-seated fear that was created long before she came along. I was afraid that everyone would hate the mythology that I created and that the books would fail miserably. I really had to take a good look at that fear and ask myself if it’s justified. Years later I can say, I told the story that I wanted, in the way I wanted to, and as a fiction writer it is my right to screw it up royally if I want.

Either Way, You’ll Never Know The Whole Truth

Even if you ask. There rarely is a good reason for trolls to do what they do. They are no better than the schoolyard bully trying to feel better about themselves or impress the other bullies by attacking “the little guy” to make themselves feel important

If some of the troll attacks I’ve had over the years are anything to go, it probably won’t make sense even if they tell you the problem they have with you. I’m still scratching my head over one woman’s scathing remarks over my author bio which I won’t go into detail other than to say that for two days she personally attack me and all those who commented on the blog post that had nothing to do with the bio. I came back from the weekend to 120 comments.

Years later, she apologized for her behavior and being curious as to what started it I asked her in the hopes of understanding why something so simple had set her off. It only triggered another bout of personal insults. Needless to say, I still don’t understand her reasoning and probably never will.

So Remember The 1/3rd Rule

When I was in the 2nd grade I came home crying because some of the girls didn’t want to be my friend because I wasn’t girly enough and I was kinda weird. My mother told me that there is no way to please everyone I met and to try would only twist me out of true. That rather than change to be their friend, I should surround myself with friends who loved me for who I am. I learned early that people will try to change those not like them and demand that they bend over backward to please them.

Later I learned the 1/3rd Rule. 1/3 of people you meet will love you, 1/3 of people you meet will hate you, and 1/3 of people you meet won’t care one way or the other about you. So I guess the question is, do you really want to spend your life trying to impress people only to fail? Or would you rather strive to impress the person you have to live with the most, yourself?

Because Resistance Is Futile

Yes, I love Star Trek. And I do use this phrase on my kids regularly, although the circumstances usually involve cleaning their rooms or doing their chores. Mom is the Borg and resistance is futile. You will be assimilated, kids.

Surprisingly, it also applies to trolls. You can’t change the minds of bullies. They will think what they want no matter what you do. Sometimes you can teach them a hard lesson, but I wouldn’t suggest it. It has the horrible potential of backfiring and causing you more harm.

No matter what you say or do, defending yourself against a bully will only makes things worse because if they don’t “hate” you for one thing, they will find another “fault” to hate about you. Haters hate.

And Hate Is Contagious

Trolls ‘hate’ you for anything and everything you do, and that hate can contaminate you if you let it in. If you aren’t careful their hatred might become yours. Don’t own that.

Hate is like an infection that spreads and consumes the person. A better use of your time would be to learn from what they say, and if changes need to be made (like improving my horrible grammar), then it is better to put energy into improving yourself rather than hating the trolls. It’s not like they care if you hate them, it only gives them more power.

Just Wait 24 Hours

Don’t respond to them. Stop responding to them. Ignore them.

If I learned one thing from the schoolyard, bullies hate to be ignored, and nothing angers them more than your apathy. It’s actually the perfect revenge. If you don’t feed the trolls, they’ll eventually lumber off in search of easier prey who will respond to them and feed their need for control and conflict.

Another thing I’ve learned over the years is that most things, even the vilest of rumors, die within 24 to 72 hours. It might be Hell during that time but there will always be juicer gossip for people to consume.

Or Delete Them

If it’s an offensive blog comment, delete the comment or post a note that their comment was “deleted for offensive behavior”. It sends a message to the other Trolls that see it that your blog isn’t their stomping grounds and their attacks will not be tolerated (outside link).

Regardless if you can delete them or not, don’t speak to people who are bad for you. You deserve better than their venom. They aren’t worth the breath, or words you’ll write, to answer them. Don’t become the thing you hate in the mistaken belief that you are combating them.

Either way, Don’t Respond to Them

I get the need to defend yourself by creating boundaries and lines that trolls can’t cross without consequences. I’m not saying ‘turn the other cheek’ or ‘let them use you as a doormat’, I’m suggesting fighting them in a way that hurts them most, by not giving them the attention they want.  I found that if I do or say something, even if it’s calm and rational manner, I’ll eventually say something they will later be use against me.

In the grand scheme, ignoring them and removing them from your life is the best advice I can give you.

Eventually, Time Heals all Wounds

Anger and hate ultimately passes if you let it and you will heal from what was said. In time, you might even be able to shrug it off as an unfortunate learning experience or laugh about “that one time when that one person told me…” or you could use that anger toward the troll in your next story. What better way to relieve the pressure then by using that energy to fuel your story? You can even make your troll into the villain and proceeded to kill them horribly and violently.

And yes, I am that vengeful. However, the idea came from other writers who have used strong emotions to create emotional charged scenes in their books and from time to time even immortalized their enemies by making them the villains in a story. 😀


In Summary, Trolls are bad

Nothing makes their attacks right or excuse their behavior. Feeding the trolls makes it worse. Letting them into your lives is like bathing in toxic waste. You will not get superpowers. You will get burned. Keeping them around like allowing a feral Mountain Lion to sleep at the end of your bed. You’re likely to wake up one morning with a Mountain Lion gnawing on a body part. Really not smart.

Be smart. Don’t feed the Trolls.

{Writing Journal} Day 39: What I’m Writing & Reading

This is more a weekly update then a daily one because I’ve had a few things that I’ve needed to take care of this week.

~ reading & writing the rebel’s bride ~

I’ve had a really hard time restarting my writing on The Rebel’s Bride last week so I decided that uploading the manuscript to my kindle would be the easiest way for me to read through it. I needed a reminder of where I left off writing The Rebel’s Bride and get back into the swing of writing it after being away from it for two months.

Sunday I upload the manuscript I had to my Kindle. The formatting his horrible but it’s readable. For the past week I’ve been bringing it with me when I start the truck to feed the cows or when I have to feed the bum calf that we have here now (it’s nice that he’s drinking his meal out of a bucket instead of a bottle now). It gives me a few minutes to read while the truck is warming up or the calf is drinking (can’t leave the calf there because the dog will try to drink his milk. Bad dog!).

What I didn’t expect, was it to be so interesting in what I was reading that I have a hard time putting it down. Good thing that I have self-control or this would be a bad thing. 😀

~ other work related business ~

Book Cover Designs for others: I’m committed to work on a few more book designs this year, mostly for a writer friend that I really enjoy working with. Over the week I’ve been working on two of her covers for the same series. One was the complete print, as I only start with the ebook cover, and the other was the ebook cover for the book she’ll be finished with soon.

My Book Redesigns: I’ve put the finishing touches on the new covers for the Children of Khaos Series. I finished inputting the revisions for My Lord Hades, mostly typos and grammar. It will soon be heading off to a new proofreader for another go over. The others in the series will be getting the same treatment as I can get to them.

Canceling Website Hosting: I mentioned that I was switching my hosting site for both my author names. So I had to go through the fun of cancelling my website hosting to cancel and fill out a form. Then I ended up talking to my current website host for an hour to figure out why something wasn’t working properly with stephanniebeman.com. It’s all fixed now. Yipee!

Total Word Count for the Week: 2120

The_Rebels_Bride_2_webimage

Disclaimer: These snippets are unedited and might be entirely different in the final version.

Mina glanced around at the twenty-odd faces staring at her and felt the panic. What did she want?

“Seems clear that she likes her choice of consort and that she doesn’t want to marry you,” Ismona said, coming to Mina’s aid. “Though why she would give up such a catch as you for Cynel I’ll never know.”

The laughter around the cavern broke the tension.

“Could be that she’s under a Nyfeli spell?” Teran joked, looking at Cynel. “I hear those pesky Nyfeli are really good with magic.”

Mina gazed at Cynel, finding pride in her mate. He was finally showing his closest friends his true face. They accepted him as easily in this skin and as the glamor. She scanned the faces of the others and realized that these men and women were the closest to family that she had. If they fought in the coming rebellion, she would lose a few of them, and she didn’t want that. She didn’t want people dying to place her on a throne.

“Why is so important for me to sit on the throne?” she asked them.

Silence met her question.

{Writing Journal} Day 38: Writing The Accidental Guardian

This entire week has been terrible for writing productivity. Monday my website went down and didn’t come back. It took me four days just to redo it from the limited backup I had of it. Something will never be fixed. Then I had to go through all my accounts and make some minor changes for the year ahead. I hope I got everything. So other than Monday and Friday where I actually accomplished some writing, the week has been a bust. 😦

While I was hoping to start on The Rebel’s Bride today, I really needed to read over what I have first and work on some changes having to do with The Accidental Guardian before I forgot them, since this book is moving into my “to-write someday soon queue”. I have to finish The Rebel’s Bride and The Warrior’s Lady under Stephannie Beman and Escaping Hell under Anne Johanson.

Total Word Count for Today: 795

Disclaimer: These snippets are unedited and might be entirely different in the final version.

Irei rounded the sharp corner and his steps faltered. She sat on the edge of the cliff, a goddess in this surreal world. The sun captured the exquisite outline of her body, burning the image into his mind forever. Normally hidden under her hood, her waist length hair flew unrestrained on the keening moan of the wind. Her unruly tress of brown-black hair shone in the sun, sparks of red flaming in the sun. There was certain symbolism in the way she gazed out over the horizon, her bare legs hanging dangerously over the edge of the cliff, her sights inward.

Furia was a part of this wild, turbulent land. Her blood and soul infused the land with life. It sang to her body, heart, and soul. She was Furia, creator of this world and its people. The oldest and the strongest of the Shalimara.

Irei slowed his pace, unwilling to break the little peace she was able to find in her life.

She blinked as if waking from a dream and turned. The Lady looked up at him in puzzlement as if she thought he was a figment of her imagination. In moments she was on her feet and across the clearing. “Ih gyal,” was her delighted shout and his only warning as she threw herself into his arms.

He stood there in stunned surprise, holding her to him. She hadn’t hugged him in a long, long time. Centuries upon centuries ago, she had clung to him in this way. But that was before the Dark One had massacred her creations.

Not wanting the moment to end he held her against him breathing in her scent. “Ih ara,” he whispered, rocking her gently.

She stepped back, a wide grin on her face. “What brings you to my world, Irei?”

Her simple words sobered him instantly, as he remember why he had come. “He’s returned.”