Changes On the Writing Front

Over the last year I’ve been struggling with some hard decisions about the direction I want to take my writing, about the type of books I want to write, and about the books I have already written. Much of what I have decided will affect this website and author name. For example:

  1. Within the next few years, I will be writing Young Adult Fiction and publishing it under the name Stephannie Beman.
  2. Which means I will no longer be writing romance or any books with sex in them under the name Stephannie Beman.
  3. This also means all my novels and short stories that I have published will be removed from this website and from sell within the next week. From this moment on all romances will be written under a pen name. Some of my books will eventually find their way to my romance pen name. Others will not.

I’m sure some of you are wondering why I’m changing to YA Fiction and why I don’t just create a pen name for it rather than go about it this way. I will happily admit that creating a pen name would be easier, smarter, and less of a pain in my pu-tush, except for one really big reason: MY DAUGHTERS.

My DAUGHTERS have been asking me to write a book they can read for years and I have finally agreed. Hence, the YA Fiction.  And while I could create a pen name for my YA Fiction my oldest DAUGHTER has decided that she wants to write the books with me during the Summer months and she wants her name on the book with mine. We’ve already done the prep work for the first two stories in the series. She also wants to give those YA books to the public and school libraries.

Now I’m uncomfortable selling YA Fiction and books with more erotic elements under the same name. I don’t want a child to pick out my Romances thinking it’s YA Fiction. I would hope that parents would supervise their children’s reading books better, but I know from personal, childhood experience that  that isn’t always the case.

Since it will be some time since my last release and until my next release, I should be ok moving my Stephannie Beman author name into YA. And for those who like my day planners for writers, you will still be about to find them here.

If you would like to be notified of the new pen names for Stephannie Beman, please click this link and sign up and I’ll let you know when I’m ready to reveal them.

March 2017 Reading List

So this list is longer than usual. It was a nice change and I really loved reading the longer novels that have been in my to-be-read pile for years. I usually reserve the weekends for sure reading because once I start a book, unless the writing is horrible, I have a horrendous time setting it aside to sleep, eat, or write. (Two hours sleep really doesn’t look good on me. Think of a cross of the Hulk with The Junk Lady from The Labyrinth.)

Chance at Love Series by Ruth Ann Nordin

Right now The Convenient Mail-Order Bride is free and I believe it will stay that way, so if anyone wants to try it risk free. Go grab it! You’ll like it. 🙂

While the first book in the series was published in 2016, I waited to grab the entire series until the last book was published for two reasons: 1) I knew once I started reading I wasn’t going to want to stop reading until I finished the entire series (I devoured 4 books in two days) and I really didn’t want to have to wait for the next book to be published, and 2) I didn’t want them to get lost among the 1,000+ ebooks on my Kindle (I happens often). Since I know that most of Ruth’s series are 3-4 books long I knew it was safe to grab it now.

Now I’ve been looking forward to this series—even though these books aren’t what I normally like to read—since Ruth told me about it and hired me to create the covers the Chance at Love Series. Why don’t I usually read these types of books? Well, I don’t usually read Historical Western Romance or any form of historical stories. Also, much of my reading can be considered erotic, the sexy bits in these books are more tame and sweet

From the start of The Convenient Mail-Order Bride I liked Phoebe and her mother. When she answered the mail-order bride ad I was hoping for the best even though I knew from the description that her groom-to-be Abe hadn’t posted the ad. When he learns of her predicament, he’s decent enough to to take them in and pay for them to return East despite her protests that she wants to stay with him despite him being a half-breed. Abe tries to make it clear he doesn’t want a wife and he’s sure that when she learns about life on the Frontier she’ll be more than happy to leave.  I cheered right along with him every time she proved him wrong.

Note: By accident, I switched books 2 and 3 around while I was reading and read the series out of order. Yes, I did notice my mistaken within the first few pages of book 3 but I really wanted to know what Allison and Travis were going to do and so I didn’t stop reading. I would not suggest doing it this way because it will be really confusing. Each book can be read as a standalone, but really each one builds on the other. The only reason it worked out for me was because Ruth and I have talked about these books and I even hashed out ideas with her. I knew what was going to happen with parts of plot and I was reading more for the surprises I would finding as these people’s relationships. 😀

The Mistaken Mail-Order Bride is all about mistaken identity. Neither Eric or Caroline thought to ask the other their name when they head to the preacher and due to a sick child Caroline brought with her and an impatient witness, no one catches the issue until they are signing the marriage license. Eric decides to make the best of the situation and I have to say that I loved Eric for his decision it. Caroline is a sweet woman willingly to learn and I think the perfect woman for him. I enjoyed seeing them both grow as individuals and in their relationship.

By the time The Accidental Mail Order Bride starts, Travis has appeared in the series at least twice. Now I love Beauty and the Beast type books, especially when the beast is sweet and adorable, which is probably why I refused to stop reading when I realized I skipped a book. I wanted to know more about Travis and Allison. Allison was the woman who arrivedto marry Eric much later than she planned and she ended up being perfect for Travis. She starts out reluctant to marry him, and after the preacher tells her the latest gossip, I believe I would be a little scared but for totally different reasons. Travis compounds the problem with his fear of women and his need to hide his scars. I really enjoyed the interaction between Allison and Travis and didn’t want the book to end.

The one thing I love about Ruth’s writing is that she finds ways to redeem some of her more deserving villains. Carl is one of those villains you can’t help feeling sorry for throughout the series but it takes marrying Juliet for him to start seeing that maybe life isn’t so bad. I loved Carl’s growth throughout The Bargain Mail-Order Bride as he learns to deal with his inner demons given to him by his neglectful father, miserable mother, and hateful dead wife. But it’s when Juliet’s secret comes out that he willingly gives up his empty dreams for the woman he loves.

Brides of the Kindred, Books 10-13,  by Evangeline Anderson

I’m going to lump these books into one grouping instead of individually. If you’ve been reading The Reading List posts you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been a little addicted to this series this year. Part of the reason is the reader in me wants to know what’s going to happen next while the writer part of me is taking notes and thinking “This is an awesome idea! Wonder how I can use this.”

Evangeline Anderson has done a great job of layering her series in such a way that you’re invested in the next characters in the series before you’re done with the book. I find myself having to know what happens next to those characters. Now this isn’t a novel concept, I just like the way she pulls it off so nicely.

Now some of the books I absolutely love the characters and story plots. There are other books in the series that I’m not so fond of characters or the sexual situation. And yes, there is a lot of sex going on, they are after all erotic romances, but there is also some fun story plots. This month I ended up reading: Devoured (#11), Enhanced (#12), and Cursed (#13).

In Devoured, I really felt bad for Tess who was just trying to hide from her evil ex-husband and thought the Kindred’s idea of a brothel would work for her. Not because she wanted to work there but because the robots weren’t going to say anything about her being there. After getting trapped in the lounge area, she ends up with Garron, who is understandable upset by her deception because of what he said to her when he thought her a robot and what could have happened to her. She is unwittingly returned to Earth and placed in the hands of her ex husband. When Garron learns of her troubles, he does what he can to protect from her from the evil bastard she was married to and from the beast lurking inside himself.

Enhanced brought back fond memories of watching Star Trek Voyager with the family, and there were times that Six reminded me a little bit of Seven of Nine. That’s about where the similarities end. Mei-Li doesn’t want to be claimed by the Kindred male any more than he wants to claim him, but to keep the peace among Earth and the aliens who saved them, they each do their part. Mei-Li finds herself on an unemotional world of cyborgs where feeling is against the law. I had to laugh at the interaction of Mei-Li (who is far too passionate for the cold cyborg) and Six (who is trying to do everything by the book and who is far too innocent in many ways). At least Six didn’t remain unemotional.

I really liked Stravos in Devoured and was glad when he got his own book, Cursed. Stravos is among the cursed Kindred and can feel the pain of others, Charlie is an agent in charge of hunting down the Kindred who didn’t leave Earth. When he is captured on Earth by Charlie, neither one of them expected the consequences. You see, Charlie has problems with the aliens on her planet and I really don’t blame her for her anger but it was nice to see she has her priorities straight when she was able to put aside her hatred to go on a mission with Stravos to stop their common enemy and save both races from a man Hell bent on destroying them all.

The Star King (The Star Series, 1) by Susan Grant

I really found a fondness for Rom and Jas in The Star King. Rom is one of those men who refuses to play by the rules, especially when lives hang in the balance, and pays for his defiance with banishment. Jas is an divorced wife with grown kids, an ex fighter pilot, and a successful artist whose not completely happy with her life. When aliens contact Earth and she goes to Rom seeking answers and even a little adventure in space. The twists and turns in the book kept me wondering if they were ever going to get together. Which I knew would happen because it’s a sci-fi romance and they always have a happily-ever-after. 😀

The Star Prince (The Star Series, 2) by Susan Grant

Ian, Jas’ son and successor to the King of the Galaxy, is on a mission of great importance when he hires Tee’ah as his pilot. Princess Tee’ah is being stifled by the rules of her royal life and she’s out to live her life for once. With enemies hunting for them both, strange malfunctions happening with the ship, a hunter sent to find Tee’ah and return her home, I was worried that they would never get their cute asses together. Maybe I should have been more worried about the galaxy hurtling toward war.

The Miracle Morning for Writers: How to Build a Writing Ritual That Increases Your Impact and Your Income (Before 8AM) (The Miracle Morning Book Series) by Hal Elrod and Steve Scott

First, there are several books in this series and if you aren’t a writer and would still like to read the book, I would suggest one of the others. The original book is The Miracle Morning but they have one for salespeople, marketers, real estate agents, families, relationships, etc. They all have the same basic information from what I can tell, they just go the extra mile to gear each book towards individuals, business people, or families.

I really recommend this for writers as it doesn’t just deal with creating a writing habit but also hits on improving your writing skills, advice on publishing business, writing tips. and maximization of your day that will help you increase your income, your output, and the value you provide to the world.

The Star Princess (The Star Series, 3) by Susan Grant

I found The Star Princess fun and kind of sad. Not because the story was sad, more because the billionaire alien Prince Ché is being forced into another arranged marriage with a woman that he doesn’t love within a certain deadline, and even though he’s not quite aware of it, he’s already falling in love with another. When Ché escapes to Earth to sow some wild oats and shows up on Ilana’s doorstep, Ilana is determined to loosen him up by setting him up with a few friends and winning the bet she made with her brother and Ché friend. I enjoyed Ché and Ilana’s attempts to not be attracted to the other, but really, when does that ever work in a romance. 😀

Vampire’s Mail Order Bride (Nocturne Falls Series, 1) by Kristen Painter 

Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town that celebrates Halloween 365 days a year. 

I so want to be a tourist at Nocturne Falls! Halloween is an awesome holiday! Although, I’m not so sure if I would feel as safe once I knew that the vampires, the werewolves, the witches, the gargoyle are real there.

But for Delaney, there couldn’t be a safer place for her to hide from the mobster hunting her then amongst the “monsters”, especially with the groom-to-be of the mail order bride whose place she has taken. And there couldn’t be a better woman for Hugh then the bride his grandmother arranged for him, even if she isn’t the “right” woman.

I found myself laughing at the humor sprinkled throughout most of this book.

The Champion of Baresh: Star World Frontier Series, 1 (The Star Series, 4) by Susan Grant

Confession, I only read The Champion of Baresh because I really, really wanted to see Klark get his happily ever after. He might have been a booger throughout The Star Prince and The Star Princess, but he redeemed himself at the end of The Star Princess and he deserved some happiness for it.

I found Jemm and Klark well-suited for each other with their love bajha (a fighting sport) and the attraction that grew between them, but there is this really pesky problem that Jemm didn’t think about when she tried to trick Klark. She has a secret that isn’t just scandalous, it might just ruin Klark’s plans to win the galactic title and restore his family’s honor that his misdeeds have tarnished, turn his beliefs about women upside down, and possibly alter the course of their worlds forever. But that doesn’t seem to stop Klark from setting out to win Jemm’s reluctant heart.


Keeping Track!

This year one of my goals is to read at least 50 fiction books & 5 non-fiction books. So far I have:

January 2017: I read 5 fiction books and 1 non-fiction book.
February 2017: I read 7 fiction books and 2 non-fiction books.
March 2017: I read 12 fiction books and 1 non-fiction book.

Total Fiction read this Year: 24 books.
Total Non-Fiction read this Year: 4 books.

Happy reading to ya’ll!

I thought I had 4 hours to write? Where did it all go?

Damn! Four hours flew by. I don’t think I even saw it go.

When I woke up this morning I was thinking “Yes! I’m in the mood to work on The Scout’s Captive.” By the time I finished feeding the cows, loading hay in the truck, flushed out the water system in the cabin, fed the cats and dog, made hubby dinner, cleaned the kitchen, ate lunch with hubby, and sent hubby off to work, I was too distracted by thoughts of what I want to do with my writing career business hobby, making future plans for writing projects I want to do and need to do, the website updates I need to make and what I need to change, and how I’m going to juggle pen names to do any writing.

So writing ended up being a huge bust this afternoon because I couldn’t focus on it to save my behind. But I will say that I made a big ass dent in the website changes and what I’m thinking about with a pen name. I hope that after I deal with dinner, kids’ homework, and picking up the house, I might be able to squeeze in a few hours of writing before hubby gets home from work.

If not, I shoot for some quality time between my laptop and me this weekend. I’m thinking of disappearing into a bathroom and closing the door. Good thing there are two bathrooms in this house. The back one might just be my office tomorrow. 😀

March 2017 Goals Review

We’re now moving into month 4 of 2017 and I’m back for a third “In Review” Post. I believe I’ve found a layout I like, but we’ll see as I go along.

I think I’m doing better on the goals I made than I had hoped. Most likely because I’m reviewing how I’m doing on a public forum, and with so many eyes reading these posts it makes me want to rock these goals. Now if I wasn’t doing this in private, I probably wouldn’t be doing as well. Can we say, pressure to succeed?


So, my Life this Month… 

There were a lot of changes this month, but most of it was Behind the Scenes, and some of it will never be seen because I either changed my mind about that (Hey! I’m a woman and an adult. It’s my right. Don’t judge.) or it’s still in the planning stages. What I did share with you all was:

List of posts for the month


My Goal to Finish Writing 5 Books in 2017

Another awesome month of writing! Yay!

So far it’s looking like I might be finishing the books ahead of schedule, which is good because I’d like to take my time editing and making sure I don’t leave plot threads dangling in the breaze.

the_warlords_daughter_1_webThe Warlord’s Daughter

Phase: writing completed 01/5/2017
Word Count: 66,715 (but only because I moved two scenes to TSC. I have two, possible three scenes to write.)
Due: February 1st

the_scouts_captive_2_webThe Scout’s Captive

Phase: Writing
Word Count:  78,422
Due: April 1st

the_lost_heir_3_web

The Lost Heir

Phase: Waiting to be written
Word Count: 27,734
Due: June 1st

the_empty_throne_4_webThe Empty Throne 

Phase: Waiting to be written
Word Count: 27,910
Due: September 1st

the_rebel_queen_5_web

The Rebel Queen

Phase: Waiting to be written
Word Count: 43,039
Due: December 31st

Note: This goal doesn’t include editing or publishing the books, although I’m hoping to get started on those this year too. First, I want to finish writing the entire series before I even think about editing them. Then I’m looking at 2018 for publishing all five books and the series box set.


 My Goal to Write Everyday &
Write 300,000 New Words in 2017

Part of my writing goals for 2017 is to write every weekday and add 300,000 new words this year. This month I’m back to writing in the morning time before Hubby is home from work. Awesome-sauce!

Days I wrote:
Days I didn’t write:
Total Days I Wrote for 2017:

Word Count for January:
Word Count for February: 28,346 new words
Total Word Count for 2017:
 — new words

Note: The 300,000 words doesn’t include words written for blog posts or web pages unless it was something creative. I am using a Excel program from Svenja Gosen to keep track of my progress and I would suggest it to anyone who wants to do the same. I’ve used this spreadsheet on and off every year since 2014.


My Goal to Write in my Work/Writing Journal

After reading Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, I decided that I wanted to keep a writing journal for my works-in-progress. I started this goal in December in my Bullet Journal.

In January 2017, I started to use one of the journals I’ve had lying around forever. So far I like how it is turning out. I don’t always remember to write in it before I start writing but I figure it’s a work-in-progress.

work-journal

I believe I bought this leather journal in 2001 with several refill journals and never used it. Ah, such is the life of a writer.


And My Office Goal

Yet another goal of mine is to create an inspiring work space, which I knew wasn’t going to be easy when I made the goal because even though we are living in a house that is two to three times larger than our cabin, my office area is smaller than ever.

officebefore

My old office in the cabin was roughly 4’x8′ and there was more storage space with my printer stand/shelves & filing cabinet that you can’t see in the picture.

office

My office space now is about 2’x4′ and doesn’t include the filing cabinet which holds other paperwork unrelated to me at all or my printer stand/shelves which was re-purposed for something to do with movies.

Since I’m once more in the living room, which is filled with distractions and very limited on space, and everything I need for writing has to be on the desk, I’ve had to make some changes like:

  • The wire basket on the left side of my desk holds notes for current writing projects, my day planner, and blog notes. Then if I have to work somewhere else, like the kitchen table or the counter in our bathroom, I can take the basket with me. Anything I don’t need for the moment has to be stored elsewhere in the house (which is really annoying).
  • The big black binder on my desk is my story binder for The Queen’s Rebellion. It holds all my notes on the world and characters for the series, plus pictures and maps and timelines. I found the printed version much easier than the digital one. It’s in need of an update though. (My favorite how to create a series binder explanation is on YouTube by author Kami Garcia.)
  • The black book on the right of my laptop is the work/writing journal I mentioned above. It’s where I record all the boring details of what I’m writing, how I feel about what I wrote, ideas for the stories, etc.
  • The stacks of crap in the shelves on the right side of my desk is everything I’m working on making digital or that I need close by. It’s been a goal of mine for a few years now to make my office as digital as possible. I’ve been going through all my papers when I have time and deciding what to keep and what to toss. When I have the chance I type up notes for future books (I love using Scrivener for this. I find it very helpful) and any notes I’ve made while reading books or articles (I like OneNote for this).
  • Since my desk faces the window and I have no walls to hang my corkboard of inspiring quotes, writing calendar, dry erase board for notes, or pictures, I’m creating a desktop slide show for quotes and pictures, and my planner for my writing calendar. So far I have eighteen pictures or inspiring quotes. I’ve been thinking of placing it on this website as a freebie for other writers, but I have to look into copyright issues first.

If I could find another space in the house for my office space that didn’t include me getting rid of my awesome desk or our furniture, I would do it in a heartbeat, but it’s not possible. Trust me, I’ve looked. 😦


My Plans for Next Month…

Are limited to watching for that first cow who is going to calve, feeding the livestock, working toward finishing The Scout’s Captive, and starting The Lost Heir.

Wishing you all the best,

stephanniebemansignature

March 2017 In Review

Yay! Third In-Review post in a row. I’m on a roll! 😀

Just so you know, I’m once more tweaking the layout of the post, so please bear with me as I work toward a format that I like.

My Life this Month…

Since it’s Winter here on the ranch, things are slow and both hubby and I are chomping at the bit to get working on the projects we have around here to finish. It becomes a nice bonding experience for our family and it gets us all our vitamin D. The first cow has finally calved. Yes!

Now that Winter is starting to wind down, I’m looking forward to returning to my twice a day walking routine. I really missed it. When I lived in town over 13 years ago, exercising outside was much easier during the Winter months. Walking in the country during the Winter is liable to hurt as the lane is slick and the meadow has snow drifts to my knees.

I’m still working on cutting back on the electronics and TV during the weekends for the family this month, but as long as the weather is crappy outside I don’t see my goal being very successful. However, with the more Spring-like days, the girls are spending more time outside playing then inside. Lately, their game of choice to outside has been four square, and they always seem to want mom and dad to come play. 😀

The girls are also back to working on the Fort they built with a friend two years ago. It’s becoming quite the project with them finding all sorts of objects that have been trashed over a half a century ago and dragging it back to their Fort. As I look at it, their helping clean up their environment and at a later date we can collect it all for recycling and the garbage, but for the time being they are free to use it.

Now on to my goals…


Finish Writing 5 Books in 2017

March has been a month of deep contemplation in regards to the direction I want to take this writing hobby of mine, the type of books I want to write in the future, and how I want to handle some of the books I have already written. I’ve even started to solidify some changes I decided upon. I want to make a more detail post on this later this month when I have a better idea of what I’ll be doing. I’m only mentioning it here because my plans pertain to my goal to “Finish 5 books in 2017.”

So, yes, I will be finishing at least 5 books this year, plus a  few more if my plans work out the way I hope, but not in the way I planned to when I made the goal. I’m making good headway with this and I’m hoping  to increase my writing output significantly with the changes I will be implementing this month.


Write Everyday & Write 300,000
New Words in 2017

In January I figured that I would have to write nearly 30,000 words a month to reach my 300,000 new words in 2017 goal. Since my best output comes in the winter months before the kids are out of school and the ranch work begins, I have until May to create a good buffer. I had accumulated about 9,000 word buffer before the 1st of March and lost most of it before the end of March due to some bad writing days.

Days I wrote: 26
Days I didn’t write: 5

February’s Word Count for March:  19,495 new words
Total Word Count for 2017:
 85,043 new words

Note: The 300,000 words doesn’t include words written for blog posts or web pages unless it was something creative. I am using a Excel program from Svenja Gosen to keep track of my progress and I would suggest it to anyone who wants to do the same. I’ve used this spreadsheet on and off every year since 2014.


Take 1 writing related workshop in 2017

I know I mentioned that I probably wouldn’t be doing this. Well apparently I lied. Sorry. 😦

Around the first of the month I ran across 5-Figure Author Challenge/ AuthorRemake eCourse  and joined at a discounted price I couldn’t pass up. I’ve really wanted to learn more about platform building because basically I suck at it. Maybe this eCourse will help me become better at it, or at least less awkward.

I’m still going through the course information, but it felt really nice to cross off this goal off my list.


My Plans for Next Month…

I have five main focuses this month:

  1. Keep writing no matter what life throws at me. 😀
  2. Remember to make weekly goals and review them to get shit done!
  3. Solidify my plans for the series I’m working on and write that blog post explaining a few things.
  4. Watch for more calves to drop.
  5. Start walking again as the weather permits.

Wishing you all the best in April,