20…um, 24 Things About Me

Today is my Birthday and I decided to celebrate by telling you 20 things about me. Kinda like the meeting-and-greet stages of dating, only without the dating, free drinks, dinner, or a movie.

  1. I like to sing, but I really shouldn’t. Not even in the shower. Not ever. More often than not, I’m off-key.
  2. Writing got me in trouble with teachers a few times throughout my school years. Sadly, they started catching on that I wasn’t writing notes through their whole lecture, but taking notes in one notebook while writing a story in a second notebook.
  3. I was bald for the first 3 years of my life. When my hair finally grew, I refused to cut it and it has been long ever since, except for the one time I had to cut it. For me, short hair looks really, really bad.
  4. I refused to take the SATs for two reasons: 1) I can’t take tests worth shit, and 2) I had no intentions of ever going to college. Regardless of what people thought about that decision, I haven’t regretted my choices in life.
  5. The first night I stayed up late to read a book was when I was three. My grandma finally told me to turn off the light and go to bed. It was 1 AM. Strangely, I didn’t know how to read at the time, I just knew the stories by heart so I could look at the pictures and tell myself the story.
  6. If I start a book, I have to finish it that same day. I will stay up to read the whole thing and live on 2 hours sleep the next day. Unless it’s a non-fiction, then I can read it a little bit at a time for a month.
  7. My idea of a good time is staying home to read a book, write, or watch a movie while doing either of the first two or one of my craft projects.
  8. When I go on vacation I hate visiting the big cities or even small cities. Since I am the navigator, I usually put us on the scenic roads and stick to small towns and the outdoors. I love forests, ghost towns, and mostly empty beaches along the Oregon and Washington coast in the US, and the coastline in British Columbia, Canada. Although, one day I will make it further East and possibly see the Atlantic Ocean.
  9. I wrote my first stories in 2nd grade. One was about a poor girl who wanted a doll, the other was about a man meeting Christ. I realized years later that the story first story was based on a story about a kid without shoes and the second story was based on of Ben-Hur. See how fiction forms the young mind.
  10. Every year I read the 1st two books in Lisa Ann Norman’s Sholan Series, Turning Point and Wheel of Fortune. I might even continue reading the next six books, but not always. (Note: I just learned that another book in the series is being released this year. Guess I’ll have to add it to my Wishlist.)
  11. Lisa Ann Norman, Anne MacCaffery, Laurall K. Hamiliton, Anne Rice, and Alice Borchardt are among the writers who first inspired me to write my own stories as a teenager. The list has only increased with age.
  12. I’ve had several jobs in my life. The worst was data-entry for a University during tuition time when the Online payment gateway refused to work and I had to call just about every country you can think of to ask people if they meant to pay five times, being a nanny to brats comes in as a close second, and “Sandwich Artist” last, and just so you know there is no art involved in making a sandwich unless you’re doing it for a photo shoot. I preferred being a janitor and cleaning offices and schools to the above three jobs. My favorite jobs have been custom craft work, writer, and book cover designer.
  13. I love my job as an indie author and publisher. I would love to make a full-time income at writing, but at the moment that isn’t an option. Maybe one day.
  14. I’m Irish-German with a hint of Viking in my blood. I love to laugh, play, drink, screw, and fight (usually in that order). Although most of my drinking these days is reserved to apple cider and coffee, although a few shots of whiskey isn’t unheard when the occasion arises.
  15. I don’t have pets. This doesn’t mean that I hate or mistreat animals, I actually love them, but I’m aware that I would make a really bad pet owner based on the fact that I might forget to feed them when writing my next book and I don’t keep them company. They seem to be very aware that I don’t want them around and plot to make me like them.
  16. Rather than pets I have a ton of wild birds who eat my vegetable/fruit scraps, a handful of barn cats to keep the rodent population at bay, a roaming watch dog to warn me when anyone comes down the road, and some cows to keep my hubby occupied with a hobby. I don’t consider them pets.
  17. I’m not much for social interaction or social media. It’s not that I’m anti-social or an extreme introvert, I just don’t know what to say. Or you could say that what I say will result in the “Brennen Effect”. If you’ve seen Bones you’ll understand. Only I don’t sound so technical and smart. LOL
  18. I worried my mom in the 6th grade when I wrote a story about a girl going to her aunt’s house to live after the death of her parents. After a few obstacles, it ended with the girl finding her own grave and learning she too had died in the car accident with her parents. After that I wasn’t allowed to watch scary movies. No more The Last Unicorn or Ghost for me. Now that my age is the equivalent of an adult, I watch all the scary movies I can, which sometimes makes it hard to sleep at night.
  19. I loved the first three seasons of The Walking Dead and my kids believe they are experts on what it would take to survive the zombie apocalypse. I’ve even caught them playing The Walking Dead in the yard. I’m very aware that if the zombie apocalypse ever happened, I would probably die within the first few days. Most likely trying to save my girls from the zombies they believe they could kill.
  20. I don’t do subtle. If you want something from me, don’t hint at it, ask me. Otherwise I’ll miss it and not realize that you were asking me for something. Just be aware that I have no problem saying “yes” or “no” to requests.
  21. I prefer to read romance or stories with a romantic subplot to reading most other genres. This means that most my stories will have a romantic subplot in them. You’ve been warned.
  22. Despite my book reading preferences, I don’t like to watch romantic movies. I like fast-paced action flicks, supernatural horror, police procedural, science fiction, and paranormal. If it has magic, aliens, violence, and mystery in it, then I’ll probably want to watch it.
  23. I like to cook, I preferred cooking on my wood stove to my electric range. Somehow cooking on a wood stove seemed to be a more intuitive way to cook, and I burned less food. I’m having more trouble burning food on the electric range but I’m getting back into the swing of how it works.
  24. I hate cleaning. I will find any way to get out of it that I can. It doesn’t mean my house is a mess. I just try to clean only what has to be done and leave the rest for another day.

Ok, so my list turned out to be 24 things instead of 20. But it is still a damn good list.

Your turn: I love getting to know new people and would love to know more about you.  Tell me a little about yourself?


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NEW RELEASE! 2019 Writer’s Planner

It’s that time again! Yay!

Wondering what the Hell I’m talking about. Well it’s the time of year where I release next years planner!

Cover Image Designed by Stephannie Beman with Cover Image by Sadudee Sittichoke from Dreamstime.com

Well, I’m actually a little late announcing the release of my 2019 Writer’s Planner. Even though I uploaded it at the end of September and created a page for it, after four failed attempts to write this post and finally deciding to delete it in a not so adult fit of anger, I decided to grow up a bit and stop procrastinating. Besides, it’s snowing today and I have no excuse not to write this post now. LOL

First off, for those who know they want the planner but aren’t interested in the rest of the post, you may Purchase the 2019 Writer’s Planner at LULU for $13.99. For those who want to know if they can purchase it at Amazon, the answer is no for various reasons. Maybe one day.

Sidenote: While this planner was created for writers, it can actually be used for anyone who plans their projects and activities more by week than day.

Next, let me introduce you to the 2019 Writer’s Planner which is a yearly and weekly planner that allows you to see what appointments you have for the week, keep track of those pesky tasks that you need to make sure you have done daily, and make a to-do list of projects and/or tasks you need to work on but have no specific time or day when it needs to get it done. There are also several sections for projects that you maybe working on at any given moment.

Peek inside the 2019 Writer’s Planner:
Yearly Planning Sheet where you can have a yearly overview of the projects you plan to accomplish for the year

Yearly To-Do List for things you plan to accomplish for the year. There is also one near the back to help with next years planning.

2019-At-A-Glance gives you a place to record birthdays, appointments, upcoming projects, client work, or deadlines.

Monthly Calendars with projects & Goals sheet to record information, plan projects, or write down projects and goals you want to complete that month.

Weekly Calendars with sections for appointments, weekly tracker for goals or word counts, and the week’s projects and goals you want to accomplish.

Project Planner for brainstorming and planning your writing projects, writing lists, and more.

Waiting For section to track of the purchases or submissions you are waiting on.

And there you go, the 2019 Writer’s Planner.

Purchase the 2019 Writer’s Planner at LULU
for $13.99

2019 Writer’s Planner Product Details

Author: Stephannie Beman
Published: September 14, 2018
Language: English
Pages: 198
Binding: Coil
Interior Ink: Black & White
Weight: 1.36 lbs.
Dimensions (inches): 8.5 wide x 11 tall

{WIP} A Tale of 2 Light Houses

Last year, we took a vacation to visit my Grandma’s house in Washington after we finished haying. We had a wonderful time exploring the forests, beaches, and small towns around the area.

While there, my grandma took us to a little tourist trap town on the coast, I can’t even remember the name now. But what I do remember is the yarn and needlecraft store we ran across. Now, if you don’t know this about me, I’m an avid crafter on top of being a writer, and this was a store that I refused to bypass by without going inside. As hubby and girls found a rock store a few doors down, I basically had all the time I wanted to explore inside.

Jennings Yarn and Needlecraft is a unique yarn shop specializing in quality natural fibers and designer yarns.  Our yarn collection features wool, cashmere, alpaca, mohair, angora, silk and cotton, along with many novelty yarns.  We feature yarns from Trendsetter Yarns, Prism, Lang, Berroco, Malabrigo, Lana Grossa, and Noro, to name a few.

We also carry cross stitch and needlepoint from Dimensions, DMC, Elizabeth Bradley, Thea Gouverneur, Stitch n Zip, Textile Heritage and others.

jenningsyarn.com

Once inside, I really didn’t want to leave. It’s been a very long time since I was in a craft store with shelves upon shelves of my preferred crafting mediums. Fabric, thread, and patterns for cross-stitching and embroidering, and yarns and various tools for crocheting.

Now it was almost as hard not to buy a carload of materials for all the different projects I suddenly wanted to do as it is for me to go into a bookstore and not come out with more books then I could possible read in a year.

Now, I did restrain myself from going on a shopping spree, but only because I had a choice between bringing home our girls or a crafting stash that I couldn’t possible finish in my lifetime. I chose to bring home our girls because they are irreplaceable.

If I do decide in the future that I want to purchase anything from Jenning’s Yarn and Needlecrafts I can always order it over the phone as they don’t have an online shop. Or I could purchase it online from the several retailers who do have online shops.

I did, however, splurge on two counted cross-stitch kits of lighthouses for the bathroom. I did one several years ago that I gave to my mom that has the same look to it and that I still have the pattern to so I plan to stitch it up again. I started the first on around the first of December and I finished the second one around the end of June this year.

Here’s what they look like without the frame.

I did buy a double frame from Walmart during our monthly trip there that I thought would compliment the design,  but since I now plan to add the third lighthouse to the series, I’m going to take it back and get the three single frames. At least that is the plan at the moment. It’s prone to change if I find something better. 😀

When I get them framed and hung, I will post a picture of the finished project.

I wish you all the very best in August,

Stephannie Beman

 

In Which I Contemplate the Future

Wow! I didn’t realize that I had been absent from here so long until I jumped on the computer this morning to check my emails before starting book #3 in a series of book cover designs for an author friend and found a shout out linked to my blog.  Thank you, Ondeane Lourens, for your kind words, I was glad to help!

I couldn’t believe that my last post was almost two months ago. Sadly, this is also how long it’s been since I wrote anything more than an to-do list, email, letter, or shopping list.

Little writer, child typing

I’m not sure what it is about the Summer months that make all my well made plans swirl down the crapper within the first few days, but it seems to happen every year. The kids get out of school and the beautiful days cause my focus in life to shift. Add all the increased ranch work and the housework from more people being here during the day, and my days change to a different kind of busy.  I guess an added benefit is my days become almost electronic-free as I’m no longer glued to my computer for four or more hours a day to write and I really have no interest in social media.

Yeah, I know I’m living in the dark ages by not having my cell phone glued to my hand or posting what I’m doing all the time, but neither of them has ever held any appeal to me. I only have the cell phone for when I’m working around the ranch by myself or emergencies while away from the house. I believe my daughters spend more time texting on it this past summer then I have. Actually, if my phone or social media disappeared today, I wouldn’t miss them one bit. But that is neither here nor there, or even the point of this post.

This year has been a stranger year of contemplation and realizations, but the ones I want to talk about is the writing aspect of my life. Unlike in years past, I didn’t spend any time feeling the guilty or berating myself for not writing or working on my writing business since sometime in May. I thought I would try to go with the flow and see what happened.

Five years back, when this first started happening, I thought maybe it was a seasonal thing, but as time passed it was harder and harder for me to return to. Three years ago I thought that maybe I was burned out. I started writing 22 years ago and except for a few little breaks, I really hadn’t stopped. So I took break that lasted almost a year before the writing bug hit and I returned to writing. But that break didn’t seem to help.

Now, with each passing year, I’ve started to wonder if it was time to quitting this writing gig and just write for myself when the bug bites. The passion I’ve held for writing has been fading over the years and I’ve started to wonder if writing has served it’s purpose in my life. Or if I’m going about it all wrong for who I am.

Maybe it is time for me to move on to other things. Maybe it’s time to set up that handmade shop I’ve been dreaming of since last year. Or maybe it’s time for me to put all business related things aside and do something else…

Stephannie Beman

May 2018 Reading List

While May has been the best month reading wise, it was the worse month writing wise. I kept stalling out in my current WIP to the point that I finally backtracked about 16,000 words and started from that point to work forward.

Now, just because it was a great month for reading, I really don’t have a ton of books to recommend. There were those that I liked, but not many that I loved enough to share. I might be getting more picky in my ‘old’ age, but I think it has more to do with me being way to busy to read something I don’t like. 😀

Please Note: All pictures of books and links come from their respective author or publisher websites when possible.


His Wicked Lady (Marriage by Arrangement #1)
by Ruth Ann Nordin

Description: Helena, Melissa, and Chloe have started arranging marriages, but not all will go smoothly on the way to a happily ever after…

Regan Alger, the Lady of Cantrell, is bored with her life. Yes, she’s been more fortunate than most. She was once married to a wonderful gentleman, and this love resulted in her young son—a boy she loves more than anything. But even a son can’t fill the void in her life. She misses having a husband, both in and out of bed, so when she happens to come across a gentleman at a ball who ignites her passion, she decides he’ll be her next husband. And she’s not the least bit shy about letting him know it.

Just as determined as Regan is to have Mr. Malcolm Jasper for a husband, he’s equally determined to end up with anyone but her. If he marries her, his life will be one of chaos and scandal. He’s sure of it. After all, she’s much too outspoken and flirtatious. So he jumps at the chance for an arranged marriage, thinking once he secures a reputable and quiet bride, Regan will leave him alone. Little does he know, though, his sister and her two friends know Regan wants to marry him, and they are more than happy to help Regan get what she wants.

Regan’s risk pays off. She manages to secure him as her husband. Will the gamble pay off? Or has she just unknowingly doomed them both?

My Thoughts on His Wicked Lady: I started and finished this book in one day and loved every moment of reading it. This is the first Regency Romance that I’ve read from Ruth Ann Nordin and I loved the fact that I didn’t end up skimming through paragraphs of filler in order to return to the story. I loved that it wasn’t filled with stupid misunderstandings and meaningless fights that take chapters to resolved because the characters can’t talk to each other like adults.

I also love the idea that while Malcolm starts out prim and proper that he is able to loosen up because of his wife, while Regan is more prone to scandalous behavior and by the end of the book she’s learned the value of being a little more proper. Basically, the couple does what many compatible couples do, they balance each other out. It seems more real to life. I will definitely being getting the next books in this series.


C*cky Author and C*cky Neighbor
by Fettucine Holliday

Description for C*cky Author:

This totally original book is about a cock…sure man who is caulky, cocked up, and above all else, confident. He lays it into a lady real good, and leaves her satisfied(c). This is a totally great comedy erotica story that in no way infringes on a certain word, no sirree, not at all.

Description for C*cky Neighbor:

This super fun book is about a conveniently close male heterosexual and the lady who parts her drapes for him. He shows her what a real man is, and satisfies(MT) her completely. This is a totally great comedy erotica story that in no way infringes on a certain word, no sirree, not at all. 

My thoughts: First, I spend most of my time laughing over these short satires/parodies dealing with a more serious issue in the writing community.  I would not recommend them to everyone which is why they were placed at the end.

Second, I bought these books, among others, to support of those affected by #cockygate. Fettucine Holliday has placed a statement in her books that “if a legal fund is put together for those affected by #cockygate, some of the proceeds of this book sale will go to those defending freedom of dick slang speech.”

Third, I support the rights of business’ and authors’ trademarking their business, brand, or book series if they feel the need to do that. I don’t see the point in most cases, but I do support it. What I don’t support, is businesses or authors trademarking a commonly used word in an underhanded way to get rid of the competition. It’s a harmful way of doing business.

Happy reading to ya’ll!


Stay Updated!

What I’m Doing in June 2018

Living on a ranch is so very different from living in a city. It’s more than just the wide open meadow, the forest of trees around me, the herd of cows I help care for, or the fact that the nearest neighbor isn’t able to look out their windows into mine. It has more to do with every schedule or routine that I create to keep me sane changes from season to season and sometimes even day to day depending on the weather.

With Spring finally making its appearance in May, it means the more labor intensive ranch work is about to start. Now, it can be a slow build up depending on the weather, but by June it will be more consistent work and it will ultimately mean less time to write. 😦 But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Now before we get into my very short list of what I’m working on in June, let me tell you what I accomplished of my to-do list in May.

  1. Designing The Warrior’s Rebellion – Done! My plan is to post the cover reveal and excerpt for The Warrior’s Rebellion this next month with the announcement for the pre-order of the book.
  2. Editing Love is Blind – Done!  Finished this around the end of the month, also renamed it to Blind Love. This will be going on pre-order sometime this year when I’m more certain of publishing dates.
  3. My Lord HadesDeath’s Lover in Paperback – Done! I finished this around the first few weeks of May. I was hoping that the reviews for the paperback of My Lord Hades would link up with the eBook, but no such luck. That leaves My Lord Hades with a pathetic star rating that I can’t change. 😦

So that is what I finished, let’s move on to June’s to-do list!


Finish Writing The Dark God

At least this is my goal.  Sorry to say it, but I’m still working on The Dark God, book #2 in the Children of Khaos: The Rebellion Series because I hit a major snag in the story that took me a while and two other people to help me work through it. I ended up tossing nearly 20,000 words into my deleted scenes folder. I might find a use for them someday, or I might not.

As of writing this, I was nearly back to 45,000 words in the manuscript and if nothing else happens and I work hard, I should have this done soon and start working on The Iron Queen. But until I finish this book, I’ve told myself that I won’t be focusing on any other writing projects.

Setting Up Summer Learning Time

Every May for the past 5 years I’ve spend most of May working on a summer learning schedule for our daughters, Miss T and Miss K, that works with my work schedule. I do this in the hopes that the girls will continue to learn throughout the summer months and not lose too much of what they learned throughout the School year, but still have fun that doesn’t include technology to entertain them.

Each year, the girls have more and more learning they can do without me and I learn more about what I do and don’t want to do for next year. This year I found a Math packet for each of them that reviews the math that they did in their respective grades and what they will be learning in the grades they will be heading into. They will also be required to read daily and write a book report on the books that they finished, and by their request, I’ve also added story writing, music practice, more advanced life skills lessons that our girls have dubbed Arts & Crafts, and harder chores for them to do around the ranch to their summer schedules.

Now I’m not going to list all the websites where I’ve gotten my information from, but for those interested, much of what I’ve done each year can be found on my Pinterest board.


So that is my plan for the rest May in June. I’m looking forward to spending more time with my girls this Summer.

Wishing you all the best,

Stephannie Beman


April 2018 Reading List

Welcome back to another Reading List post!

This month was a little weird on the reading front. Mostly because I started reading a few books in my massive TBR pile (my ebook reader has over 1,200 books on it, mostly unread, and there are several unread books on my book shelves and in boxes that I declined to count because I’m lazy, or maybe just because I don’t care to, anywhoo…) and within the first 50 pages or less I lost interest and abandoned them. Now, don’t get me wrong, they weren’t all bad stories, although there were a few that bordered on being not something I would enjoy reading. But I think for the most part, it had more to do with me not being in the mood for certain genres or story lines.

Anyhoo, let’s get down to this months recommendations…

Please Note: As of this month, I will no longer be posting a picture from or linking to the books Amazon page. This is a personal preference. All pictures of books come from their respective author or publisher websites.


Armor by John Steakley (Military Science Fiction)

Description: The military sci-fi classic of courage on a dangerous alien planet.

The planet is called Banshee. The air is unbreathable, the water is poisonous. It is home to the most implacable enemies that humanity, in all its interstellar expansion, has ever encountered.

Body armor has been devised for the commando forces that are to be dropped on Banshee—the culmination of ten thousand years of the armorers’ craft. A trooper in this armor is a one-man, atomic powered battle fortress. But he will have to fight a nearly endless horde of berserk, hard-shelled monsters—the fighting arm of a species which uses biological technology to design perfect, mindless war minions.

Felix is a scout in A-team Two. Highly competent, he is the sole survivor of mission after mission. Yet he is a man consumed by fear and hatred. And he is protected, not only by his custom-fitted body armor, but by an odd being which seems to live within him, a cold killing machine he calls “The Engine.”

This is Felix’s story—a story of the horror, the courage, and the aftermath of combat, and the story, too, of how strength of spirit can be the greatest armor of all.

My Thoughts on the Book: I first read this book 20 years ago (Damn! That makes me feel old!) and while I couldn’t remember most of the book, there were parts of the story that stuck with me throughout the years. So when I saw it at the library book exchange several years ago, I grabbed it for a refresher course. Basically, I wanted to know if the story was as good as my teenage mind thought it was.

Since I decided to take a sick day from work last week, I decided it was a good day to read Armor. Now, I’m really torn on whether I liked this book or just find the authors treatment of the tale to be fascinating. Probably a little of both.

Without giving too much away, I found the way John Steakly wrote the book from the POV of Felix and John Crow to be very nicely done. And while there was a great reasons for the two characters point of views being there, there wasn’t any head hopping from one chapter to another. The book was broken into four parts. Parts one and three told Felix’s story (which happens in the past), while parts two and four told John Crow’s story. For those into Military Science Fiction who don’t mind reading an “old book” (first published in 1984), I would recommend it.

The Write Attitude by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Non-Fiction)

Description: A writer’s attitude can help bring success. But what should that attitude look like? Rah-rah positive? Pragmatic? Take-no-prisoners serious?

USA Today bestselling author and renowned business blogger Kristine Kathryn Rusch helps guide writers to find the right attitude for a long-term writing career in this latest WMG Writers’ Guide.

Rusch covers topics such as habits, the importance of routines, the dangers of following a crowd, and how to create—and follow—one’s own vision of a writing career.

With The Write Attitude, Rusch shows writers how they can do what they love and love what they do without sabotaging their own success.

My Thoughts on the Book: This is a very short, non-fiction book for writers but it is packed with great information from a professional author who has been writing books for 30+ years. Some of my favorite chapters included: 1. Habits, 2. The Importance of Routines, 5. Following the Crowd, 6. Indispensable, 8. One Phone Call from Our Knees, 10. Believe in Yourself, and 12. The Writer You Want to Be.

I got a ton of great information from this book about creating a long-term writing career and I’m looking forward to applying some of what I learned to my life. I highly recommend this book to any writer who wishes to have a successful, long term career as a writer.

Happy reading to ya’ll!