December 2016 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 those books. I decided that it might be fun to post my monthly Reading List with a small blurb about what I liked or didn’t like about a book. Be aware that if I didn’t finish a book or really didn’t like one that I did, it will not be found on my Reading List.

This month I started reading the Brides of the Kindred Series. This series is more of a serial and is considered erotic romance, sci-fi, and horror with plenty of hot aliens, sex of all kinds, and interwoven plot lines. Each book is novel-length and runs in the 300-500 pages range, although there is the occasional 700+ page book in there.

Claimed (Brides of the Kindred Book 1) by Evangeline Anderson

About the book: Olivia Waterhouse has just graduated from nursing school and has her whole life ahead of her—until she gets drafted. Problem is, she isn’t being forced into the Army, she’s been chosen as a Kindred bride.

The Kindred are huge alien warriors—a race of genetic traders whose population is ninety-five percent male. After saving Earth from the threat of invasion they demand a reward—the right to find brides among the population. The chances of being chosen are about the same as those of winning the lottery—guess it’s just Liv’s lucky day.

Baird is a Beast Kindred who recently escaped imprisonment and torture at the hands of the malevolent Scourge. Through the torment and pain only one thing kept him sane—the thought of finding and claiming his bride—Olivia. His need to possess her is a burning intensity that threatens to consume them both.

Angry at having her future and her family taken away from her, Liv vows to fight back the only way she can—by resisting. She has one month on the Kindred Mothership with Baird—their claiming period. If she can keep from having bonding sex with him during that time, she can go home and get on with her life on Earth.

But Baird isn’t going to make it easy for her. Every week he is allowed to touch Liv more and more intimately and according to the contract she signed, she has to let him. She’s determined to resist him but his touch sets her on fire. And just as she thinks she knows what she wants, a twist of fate and an attack by the faceless Scourge AllFather changes everything…

My thoughts on the book: This book was one that I picked up as a free sample to the series and probably my least favorite book so far. To be truthful, I only moved on to book two in the series because I really want to read books 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, and 17, and I really hate not reading a series in order. Especially a series like this one.

Hunted (Brides of the Kindred Book 2) by Evangeline Anderson

About the book: Sophia Waterhouse has always been afraid of needles and vampires so there’s no way she wants anything to do with a modern day Count Dracula—even if he does come wrapped in the package of a huge Kindred warrior with blond hair and ice blue eyes. She’s only on the Kindred Mothership to participate in her sister Liv’s wedding and that’s all.

Sylvan is a Tranq Kindred who has made a sacred vow never to call a bride. After a devastating rejection on his home planet, his heart is a block of ice no one can melt—or so he thinks until he meets Sophia.

When their ship is forced down in the middle of a rugged mountain range Sophia and Sylvan are stranded. Running for their lives they have only each other to depend on. Will they give in to the intense attraction between them or will the evil hunting Sophia take its toll?

My thoughts on the book: This book is really long at 780 pages, but I didn’t find that it dragged as I feared it would. While there were parts that I was annoyed with, on the whole I thought the writer did a good job of weaving the main characters from the first book into the story and then giving glimpses of the main characters of future books. Kind of like putting the prologue for the next book into current book to tempt the reader to pick up the next book. I found the idea intriguing, very addictive, and fun to see.

Sought (Brides of the Kindred Book 3) by Evangeline Anderson

About the book: One Woman, Two Hot Guys, A Galaxy of Problems…

Kat O’Connor is no pushover. She’s a no nonsense girl with a commonsense approach to life. But there’s nothing common about what’s happening to her lately…

First she was forced to have a kinky mind ménage with two of the hottest and most irritating men in the galaxy—Twin Kindred warriors, Deep and Lock—in order to locate her kidnapped friend. Then she couldn’t get their feelings out of her head. And now she’s on her way to their home planet, Twin Moons, to find a cure for the debilitating illness their unorthodox joining caused, when all she really wants to do is go home.

Locks Tight, the light twin of the two, is already in love with Kat. Her curvy plus-sized body is the epitome of beauty on his home planet and her sharp mind makes her doubly attractive. But though he fell for her the moment he saw her, Twin Kindred are unable to mate a woman alone. Lock knows nothing can happen between them without his brother…

Stabs Deep. The dark twin has a secret agony in his past—a tragedy he feels he and he alone is to blame for. He too, hungers for Kat, but he hides his fear of rejection behind an impenetrable wall of angry sarcasm. For if he lets anyone get too close, the unbearable pain he has already endured once may happen again.

Now Kat and her twin warriors are on a quest—but they’re all looking for different things. Kat wants to find a way to dissolve the half-formed bond between them so she can be alone in her own head again. Lock wants to convince both her and his brother to complete the bond which will keep them together forever. And Deep is trying to protect his heart and love Kat from afar…though it grows more and more difficult to deny the hunger he feels for her growing inside him.

Their travels will take them from the uncharted wilds of Twin Moons to the Deadworld of the Scourge home planet. Will Kat find a cure for having other people’s emotions crowding her mind? Will Lock convince his brother and the woman they both love that they’re all meant to be together forever? And will Deep ever unshield his heart long enough to let Kat in?

My thoughts on the book: This isn’t really my kind of book. I’m attracted to books with threesomes, even if there is a good reason for them, however I read this book because I found that I liked the characters and I wanted to know what was going to happen to them. I also like to read books in a series in order.

Found (Brides of the Kindred Book 4) by Evangeline Anderson

About the book: A warrior with a scarred heart who doesn’t know how to love. And the woman who must teach him how before it’s too late…

The son of the evil AllFather, Xairn is filled with conflicting emotions. On one hand, he has finally gained his freedom and cut the ties that bound him to his race and the sadistic male who is his father. But doing so has unleashed feelings in him Xairn would rather keep buried. Desires that he prayed would never manifest now rage through him and they are centered on one woman alone…

Lauren Jakes is the long lost cousin Liv and Sophie never knew they had. Abducted by the Scourge, she formed a connection with Xairn more meaningful than any other in his life. But though Lauren thinks she knows him, there is more to the huge Scourge warrior than she comprehends. A nightmare childhood and a cruel father have scarred Xairn’s heart almost past the point of healing. But that is nothing to the secret inside him—the forbidden desires coded into his very DNA itself, which urge him to commit unspeakable acts in order to sate his newly awakened hunger.

Now a conflict is brewing—both in Xairn’s soul, and aboard the Fathership where the twisted AllFather has hatched a new, malicious plot to bring his estranged son home. Can Xairn resist the brutal lust growing within him? Can he fight against his very nature which urges him to dominate and control any female he mates? Can Lauren heal his heart before the AllFather’s trap closes on both of them?
And can she teach him how to love before it’s too late?

My thoughts on the book: I liked the book, but mostly because I found the characters and the plotline of this story fascinating. There is some light BDSM in the book but nothing too extreme so I was okay with it.

Happy reading to ya’ll!

stephanniebemansignature

I’m Making Changes

After so long without writing there were a few things that I realized. Now I’m not going into the details of all my AHA! moments because first, they’re boring; second, I would have to write a series of posts to explain them all; third, they’re nothing I really want to write about; fourth, most of the changes are personal and I believe inappropriate to be sharing online; and fifth, did I mention that they’re very boring?), I decided that it was time to make some changes, like:

I just want to write for the pure pleasure of it!

The same way I just want to read a book, work on my latest craft project, or spend time with my family. I want to write because it’s a creative endeavor that makes me happy. I want to write because figuring out the next part of the story is a challenge that excites me. I want to write because its better to get the words onto paper then letting them rambling around inside my head any longer. I want to write because even after writing for 28 years I still have hundreds of story ideas that want to be told.

I want to be a writer, not a book cover designer.

Even though I really, really enjoy creating book cover designs and love working with some authors and could probably be a graphic designer full-time, I don’t have the time to be a full-time graphic designer and a full-time writer. I actually don’t have the time to do either job full-time, or even part-time. So I decided it was time to choose the one I really love to do.

Writing won!

That doesn’t mean that I won’t create planners and printables in the future, just that I’ll be more picky about what I work on.

I really don’t want to be an Authorpreneur.

I thought I wanted to be a career writer, and maybe one day in the future I might be, but for right now I have enough stress without adding to it. I don’t want to feel pressured to write the next book before readers forget me. I don’t want be stressed out when I don’t feel like writing for a few days..or weeks. I’m not one of those that like the business side writing.

Okay, that one is a partial lie but only because I love writing books and publishing them so I can see them in print. I’m also not half bad at bookkeeping However, I have a very strong aversion to:

  • donning on some “secret writer” persona and try to brand myself. That statement was actually very disturbing, but only because I got a flash of a superhero with a branding iron searing a symbol on their ass. *shudder* Anywhoo, I’m basically fascinating and boring all at once (note: the fascinating part was typed in by a friend who stopped by to make sure I was still alive and informed me that I couldn’t delete it. LOL). I’m not funny or snarky, at least not on purpose and when I try to be I can’t pull it off at all. I hate sharing strong opinions or being controversial, even if I like to read authors who are. I have no life that doesn’t involve writing, being married, raising children, cleaning house, or working on the ranch. I’m pretty much a self-conscience introvert who loves to write semi-naughty fiction, what more do you want to know about me?
  • trying to figure out who my audience is and how to write a bestselling story they’ll eat up. If by audience you mean the people who like to read the books I write? Umm…I wish I knew who they were. *looks around with a bewildered look* But really, I didn’t start this writing journey for other people. I started writing to keep my sanity, and while I do publish my stories in the hope that others will like them too, I don’t feel the need to have a bestseller or be popular with the masses. *shivers* The thought of popularity actually makes me very, very uncomfortable. I tried it once, it didn’t stick.
  • marketing and promoting my books anywhere, except on this blog. Why is my blog an exception? Because this blog/website is my slice of the Internet and if you come here then you want to be here. Anywhere, else it seems to much like those annoying ads that pop up that I absolutely hate. I can’t even promote my books in my own home when someone sees the books I wrote on my shelf and asks about them. To tell you the truth, giving a speech at a televised regional conference in front of a couple hundred people or singing  Silent Night in front of the entire school in my tone-deaf alto was far less stressful than telling some people I write books. How strange is that?
  • using social media. Yeah, I know that it is a great tool and I’ve found it helpful for finding really interesting articles to read or for book ideas, but there is the thing about making a connection with people who I can’t seem to wrap my mind around (see the next point for more information). Also I have absolutely nothing to say and I refuse to tell the world that I’m snacking on chocolate covered cranberries, that I took a break from writing to feed the animals around here, that I’m staring blindly out the window because the blank page in front of me is too bright, that I’m re-enacting a scene between my characters as if I was in a one woman play and there is a sword involved, or that I’m contemplating the most gruesome way to murder my characters because they are annoying me by not doing what they are suppose to do. After seven years of trying it out, I finally deleted all my social media accounts except Facebook (because all the extended family are on there) and Pinterest. Talk about a great weight being lifted off my shoulders with that decision!
  • maintaining a relationship with people online. This might sound really bad, but I can barely maintain a relationship offline. It might not sound rational, but when I contact other people, even my friends and family, I feel like I’m bothering them unless I have something to tell them. And then I just want to tell them and get off the phone. I decided years ago that the only reason my relationship with my hubby and my kids works is because they live in the same house I do and can easily distract me from my inner writing world. Of course, I could be wrong and there is more to it. 😀

So what does all that crap above really mean? And why should you care?

Well, it means things around here are going to change. Some of those changes will be subtle and you’ll probably miss them unless I decide to point them out. Other changes will be bigger and you might notice them more.

And as to why you should care, that is up to you. This post is more a warning to those who are interested that things around here are about to change as I move from professional writer into writing as a hobby. If you don’t know what I’m talking about and want to, Anne R. Allen has a great post about writing as a hobby or a profession.

Wishing you all the best in the coming year, my most awesome of friends,

stephanniebemansignature

{Writer’s Journal} 12/21/2016

Woke up at 6 am. It’s the first day of the girls’ Christmas vacation so I didn’t have to help them get ready for school. We did have to leave somewhat early to make a orthodontist appointment about 1 1/2 hours away.

I debated bringing my laptop and working on the 1 hour and 30 minute drive up there as Sexy Hubby was driving but decided not to. When I bought it I was looking for something big and easy to move. It’s too big to fit in most of my purses and is hardly comfortable lug around in the one purse it does fit in. I really need a smaller laptop for me to carry when I’m writing away from home, but since I rarely leave home it seems like a waste of money. Maybe I’ll look into one of those tablets with the keyboards since my tablet finally died this month.

Instead of spending the drive writing, I spent the drive writing notes about the next sequence of events in The Warlord’s Daughter and planning out

We ended up being early to the appointment and getting both girls teeth worked on, and then it was homeward bound. We stopped in town at a restaurant for a quick bite to eat and Little K’s bracket popped off during lunch. After a quick talk with the orthodontist who wanted us to come back so they could fix it, we ended up heading home to feed the cows before returning to the orthodontist.

By the time we got home for good today it was dinner time and I was far too tired to do more than watch “What on Earth?” with my family. About the time I sent everyone to bed I had my second wind and jumped on my laptop to type out my few notes and write this post.

The Writer’s Journal, 12/20/2016

Woke up at 6 am to wake the girls for school. I usually help them as needed, get their breakfast, and keep them on track so they won’t be late for the bus. This morning they decided that they wanted cottage cheese and fruit rather than pancakes, so it was a quick meal,

We were out to the bus on time and I was back to the house before 7 am. I debated whether I should keep to my morning routine or get to writing. Some mornings it’s a toss up. I started my morning routine around October for the beneficial mental and health reasons, but there are days that I just don’t want to bother.

Today was one of those days. I jumped into writing as soon as I got into the house and my coat put away. The plan was to start the next scene that I wanted to add to The Warlord’s Daughter novel, however, only a second of looking at my notes made me realize why my writer instincts were tingling and I was so reluctant to write it. I don’t like the idea of the scene because it gives away too much information too soon.

So after deleting it, I moved to the next scene in The Warlord’s Daughter. Now this is one that was already written but due to a plot hole it needed some editing. After cutting out entire sentences (they go in my extra words folder encase I find a use for them) and added more to the current scene, the word count ended up being about 800 words more then what I started with. Since that I’m rewriting a scene that needed heavy editing that’s not too bad.

Sexy Hubby informed me that it was time to head out to feed the cows and I hope I have the time to return to my writing later today. Going to leave around the same time hubby heads out for work to get some errands done in town and pick up Christmas packages from the post office.

I did get back from shopping in town and package pick up but it was far to late to start writing. I decided to work on the covers for The Queen’s Rebellion Series so I can add them to the posts.

My Writing Goals for 2017

Usually, I’m not one for New Year Resolutions; mainly, because I don’t believe in waiting for the new year to make goals for change. When I have something I want to change in my life, I create a goal to accomplish it, regardless of the time of year. That said, this time around it just so happens that I had a few changes that I wanted to make and it happens to be the end of the year.

Now, not all the goals I made are writing related, but I decided to share some of the ones that were. Mostly because I’m hoping that by publishing them and then making monthly assessments on how I’m doing with them, I will accomplish them.

So without further ado, here are my writing related goals:

Nurture my Creativity by…

  1. Reading at least fifty fiction books this year. That is about 1 book per week.
  2. Spending more time doing fun things with my family and playing more with my daughters, because downtime is therapeutic for the creative brain.
  3. Unplugging from the electronics on the weekends, unless I’m inspired to write on my current writing-in-progress and I have the time to do it.

Be a better writer and develop my writing craft by…

  1. Reading at least 5 books on the writing craft this year. I know I have that many or more on my Kindle or in my bookshelf.
  2. Take at least 1 writing craft related ecourse or workshop before the end of the year.
  3. Writing and maintaining a work journal each writing day. This will help me track how I feel about my writing that day, what worked and didn’t work, where I left off and where I was headed for the next day, analyze what might help me in the future, and record good ideas and advice.

Be more disciplined in my writing by…

  1. Writing something every weekday, even if it’s a blog post or a letter (this one could help me improve my handwriting which is a personal goal of mine).
  2. Not feeling too upset if I don’t write something one day because sometimes daydreaming is working too.
  3. Writing at least 300,000 new words this year. That’s about 1,100 words each week day. Totally doable!

Finish writing 5 books this year…

  1. The Warlord’s Daughter by February 1st (about 72,700 words written).
  2. The Scout’s Captive by April 1st (about 33,800 words written).
  3. The Lost Heir by June 1st (about 50,700 words written).
  4. The Empty Throne by September 1st (about 3,100 words written).
  5. The Rebel Queen by December 31st (about 9,500 words written).

Create an inspiring work space by…

  1. Creating a slide show of inspiring quotes and pictures for my laptop desktop.
  2. De-cluttering my office area and desk for better working.

Work on my time management by…

  1. Using the planners I created and bought. One planner is for tracking what I did that day and the other is for planning what I want to get done.
  2. Setting writing goals at the beginning of every month and reviewing them daily to see where I can make improvements.
  3. Sticking with the daily work routine that I created to mesh with my family’s schedules. To be tweaked as needed.

Be a healthy writer by…

  1. Keeping the daily exercise routine I started. Walking during good weather, and dance or yoga when it’s yucky outside.
  2. Taking the time to make healthier meal choices and drink more water, especially during my working hours.
  3. Maintaining my meditation and affirmation practice I started in 2016.

So there you have it! All my 2017 writing related goals. 😀

I would love to hear about your goals for the new year if you’d like to share?

stephanniebemansignature