What I’m Writing

I wish I could say that I got more done on the writing front this month, but sadly  my focus was torn between working on listings for my Etsy shop, the changes going on with Etsy, some orders that I needed to work on, finally getting to weeding the flower bed and fertilizing the rose bushes, and my kids.

My two writing goals in July were:

1. Writing The Lost Heir Series

I did work on updating my Series Binder for The Lost Heir Series, but I kinda ran out of steam when I got to the character bios. My character bios have always been simple and basic, mostly how the character looks, dresses, possible family connections, and any idiosyncrasies that pop up that I should be aware of. There are very few changes that need to be made to the bios that I figured could be done while I’m writing.

The next thing I wanted to accomplish and only half did was tracking the  various story threads and character arcs through the series of books in the hopes of being able to plan out each book so that I know what happens and can utilize the over 186k words already written. This is going to take more time then I thought for two reasons: the kids are distracting and still need mom’s help to cook meals (this is something they are still learning to do) and I need to make sure that each book is a complete story.

I ended up putting this aside, probably until September when the haying is done and the kids are in school, so that I can take the time I need to figure things out.

2. Finish editing Loving the Goddess of Love

I definitely didn’t complete this one, but I did get a few chapters edited this month and finalized the cover art and title change. There was a lot more wrong with the editing of this book then I first thought and it makes me cringe that I paid two different editors to edit this book and they did a horrible job of it!

The plan is to continue working on editing this book until I can send it to an editor that I trust to fix my improper use of commas. At this time, I’m not sure when this will come back out as writing is my passion project more than my focus at the moment, but it is starting to look like it will be closer to November.

Wishing you all the best,

Stephannie Beman

 

June 2019 Check-In & My July Goals

Hey, Sweet Peas! How’s it all going with you guys? I hope you all are having a great Summer, although in my neck of the woods I’n debating calling this weather Spring.

Since it has been awhile since I’ve been around the webverse, I decided it was probably time for a check in with my blog friends, fellow readers, writers, and crafting enthusiast.  So here is the quick and dirty version of the last two months. *Please beware, this is a long post. If you want to know just what my July goals are? Just click here. *

What Happened in my Life in May & June

Our usually busy May turned into crazy busy when my dad got sick around Mid-May.  Since we don’t live too close by, it was a lot of driving time to their house and back. And  with the kids still in school and having their end of school programs and awards, it was a scheduling nightmare. Shortly after my dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor, he passed away. I’m still trying to process it all nearly a month after the funeral.

Because the bad weather in May carried into June *It snowed about mid-June. Yikes!*, I had to keep the tomato plants that a friend gave us inside. About mid-June, I finally broke down and planted them into pots so I could take them outside in the day and bring them in each night until better weather allowed me to keep them out all the time. I also decided to do a little companion planting and added some bean plants to one tomato pot and lettuce to another. We’ll see how they do. I’m not much of a gardener. Keeping houseplants and established outside plants alive aren’t a problem, planting things from seed and I usually kill them.

My view from the tractor while dragging the meadow.

We also fell behind with the Ranch work because of the weather and ended up having to push it to stay on schedule. And because Ranch work comes before almost everything else, my poor flower beds are being neglected and in serious need of a good weeding. But with all the pollen floating around in June because of the late start in the season, my allergies are making me miserable. Add swollen tonsils and it’s not happening for awhile. *The Doctor told me that if we can’t get the swollen tonsils down, I might have to have them removed.  At my age, that would suck a monkey’s poopy butt.*

Anyhoo, after school ended, I was surprised with a Summer Band Camp for the kids in band which I needed to take my Little Miss K to as she will be playing her dad’s clarinet next year. That lasted for the first two weeks of June. And since we live so far from town, it meant spending most of the day there and getting little done. Well, that’s not completely true, I added more color rows to the afghan my daughter has been bugging me to finish for her. She choose the pattern and the colors for it.

Not only was I able to finish up some small crochet projects, but I was also able to solidify and tweak my plans for my blog, my shop, my writing, and my crafting. In April, my blogging plans was to gear my posts more towards all the different areas in my life and my shop plans were to release a product every week to two weeks until I had everything in stock listed.

Now, while most of those plans haven’t changed too drastically, a reassessment of my goals and planned tasks helped me see some of the problems that I would face,  figure out what I might be wasting time with, and what I could do differently before I jump straight back into work. In years past, I would have stressed over getting back on track with everything, but I’ve decided not to worry this time around.

It would be too much of a push to catch up with three months of missing work and still get what I planned out as well. Since I’m not working for anyone, except myself, and other than one client job, I don’t have anyone relying on me to get stuff done for them, I have time to work at my own pace. Plus, I don’t need the headache of unneeded stress. 😀

So the plan is to start working from the point I’m at going forward at the same pace I had decided would be sustainable and would make me happy. Which leads me to my working on my slightly neglected Etsy Shop at the end of June. I was able to finish the  pattern for the Crocheted Light Woodland Shawl that I started in May. I listed it on Etsy during the last week of June.

Light Woodland Shawl Pattern (Printable PDF) $4.95

If anyone is interested in buying the pattern or a finished shawl from me instead of buying it on Etsy, please email me.

The writing bug bit me in the ass the last week of June and I’ve been itching to tackle the Lost Heir Series. The only reason I put the story aside in the first place is that it wanted to be told a certain way and I doubted my ability to do it at the time.

Recently, I feel confident enough to work on it again. So for the last last few days I’ve been working on updating my Series Binder, tracking the  various story threads and character arcs through the series of books, and writing scenes that inspired me. We’ll see how it is going in about two weeks when I post a update about my writing.

The months without writing have put a few things into perspective for me, like as much as I love writing and being a writer, I don’t like the business side of things. So when I indie publish my stories, it’s for me and those who like my stories. I will not be announcing them anywhere else expect here and on my Facebook Page for those interested.

My Goals for July 2019

There are several things that I hope to accomplish in July and set up for August.

Personal Goals

Take the kids to the pool, library, or the water park at least once a week until School starts again: This isn’t always possible, but I try to take the kids to one of these three places each week. This gives them time to play with other kids and hang out somewhere that isn’t home, with each other, or the temptation of electronic devices.

Get back into the habit of walking once to twice a day: Last year, I had gotten into the habit of going on a walk twice a day. Once the snow started flying, the lane became too dangerous for me to walk down and exercise moved indoors. So far this year, my exercise routine hasn’t moved outside yet and I’m missing it.

Handmade Work Goals

Most of what I need to do include taking photos, writing descriptions, figuring out pricing and shipping prices, and listing several finished items that I’ve taken from my stash. If anyone is interested in purchasing any of the items below from me rather than Etsy, please email me and let me know.

List my Woodland Hoods: I finished several Woodland Hoods for adults and small children, using the yarn in the bowl to the right of the adult size Woodland Hood on my paper mache head below. There are 6 adults and 6 children hoods.

Woodland Hoods: small kids – $25 & adults – $40

Listing Seasonal Place Mats: I’m also going to be adding a listing for the table place mats that I created a pattern for and have had a few requests for them. I want to pick out a few seasonal colors and even sizes to choose from. The prices will vary depending on the size, but the 17” x 12” place mats will be $25 each.

List various dish towels from my stash on Etsy: I love these dish/tea towels and I’m looking forward to them getting to a great home. These hand embroidered towels are stitched on Premium Quality Flour Sack Dish Towels and are larger then the normal at around 32″ x 36″. The Farm Inspired towels that I stitched last year cost $10.97 each while the Frogs that I entered into the County Fair are $70.

   

Listing two cross-stitch projects on Etsy: One is a professional framed project and the other was finished at the beginning of the year and still needs to be framed. I still need to take pictures of them.

Finish the lettering on a set of dish towels and prep them for listing next month: I finally picked out a color for the lettering on the 7 floral dish towels I finished hand embroidering in June.  Thank you everyone who left a comment what they thought the color choice should be on my Facebook Page.

Weekly Flower Dish Towels – $70

Finish the Border of the Full-Sized Octagon Afghan: This is a scrap yarn afghan that I’ve been working on for several years, and started put together last year. It just needs two octagons attached and a border crocheted on. I probably won’t list it until next month.

Sketching out Owl transfers for dish towels: I had a request for a set of owl dish towels that I’m sketching out and looking forward to creating once my towels arrive. If anyone has suggestions for designs for dish towel, let me know below.

I want to finish setting up my Online Shop but…: Since opening my Etsy shop in April, I knew I wanted to create an online shop here on my website too. The process ended up taking more time then I planned and mostly because I’m having a hard time finding a reliable, seamless payment process system that doesn’t cost an arm, a leg, and my first born child. At the moment, I’m not making enough to pay the price they are asking.

Before anyone tells me about the various ecommerce websites or that I can upload a plugin. My website isn’t hosted on a place that accepts plugins with the plan I have. If I want that, I need to pay more and like I mentioned above, I don’t have the money to do that at the moment and make a sustainable business. So I’ll stick with an online shop links to each item’s page and have people to contact me to buy something or buy from Etsy. It wouldn’t be much different from the book cover designing I do.

Writing Goals

Finish editing the Goddess of Love: This book needed editing and I really want to finish it so that I can send it to a better editor then the first one I paid to do it. I’m not sure when this will come back out, but I really want to put it back on the market in August.

Writing The Lost Heir Series: Finish updating my Series Binder, tracking the  various story threads and character arcs through the series of books, and plan out each book so that I know what happens and can utilize the over 186k words already written. Then, if I have time I can start filling in the scenes I need to finish each book and move on.


Now that you know what’s going on in my life and my goals for July, what about you guys? What’s happening with you guys? What goals do you have this month?

Wishing you the best,

Stephannie Beman

PS: Next week’s blog will be all about what books I’ve read (and enjoyed) and what am currently reading.

My Printable Project Planner

I got so excited, that I ended up releasing my Printable Project Planner a week early. My bad. *hangs head in shame, but can’t hide the small smile*

Ok, so I’m not sorry! I’m having a lot of fun creating printable planner inserts that I can customize to fit my needs…and yours.

Yep! I admit that I love my simple, blank printable planner inserts over using the store bought ones or even the pre-dated 2019 Planner that I created. What can I say, I found printing out what I need for that month, week, or day while skipping the rest better fits my needs and lifestyle.

So without further ado, I present you with the Project Planner…

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What Customers have to say:

“It’s a great tool. I’ve been using these planners for three years now, and it’s helped me stay organized. I’ve also enjoyed the fact that I can track down my progress, so on days where I feel like I haven’t done much, I can look over the planner and see how much I’ve accomplished over the year. It keeps me motivated.

“I still have the ones I used for the past couple of years. It’s nice to go over them from time to time and see what I’ve done. After a while, I’ve noticed how I can best pace out my projects because I can see where the project started and where it ended. It helps me plan out future projects since I have a better idea of my natural work schedule.

“I didn’t even realize how much writing down what I was doing each day helped me stay on top of things and figure out my own pattern for working on books.”

~Ruth Ann Nordin

Buy the Project Planner (Printable PDF) for $4.95 at ETSY now!

Wishing you all the best,
Stephannie Beman

 

Guess What I Did…

Hey Sweet Peas! I hope you all have been having as much fun as I have lately.

The last few months I’ve been mostly absent from the Internet, hopping on occasionally to check emails, see what friends are up to, and reading articles on subjects I find interesting. However, I spent most of my time with my family, evaluating what I want in life, and the goals I want to work toward. I made a dent in my to-read pile and I’m hoping to have a reading list post ready for the end of this month. I also made some writing related decisions about what I’m going to do with the Lost Heir Series, and those major story choices might allow me to finish the whole damn thing before the end of the year, but I’ll talk a little more about that at a later date when I have a better idea of how much time I can devote to writing.

I also spent many long, relaxing moments, despite some hard times with my health, designing and creating all sorts of handcrafted goodies. Now I’ve been a closet crafter since I was a 10. It’s a secret, guilty pleasure that I never thought anyone would be interested in until I started bringing my crocheting with me and people started asking me if I sold my work and where they could find it, or if I taught lessons because they always wanted to learn to crochet or cross-stitch. When I shared some of my projects here and on Facebook, they were well received by many of you, and there were even a few requests to purchase some of the items.

“United in Marriage” project I’ve been working on for the last 4 months. I’m cross-stitching it on linen.

I’ve always loved creating items inspired by the beauty and quality of the homesteading spirit that is very much apart of my life here on the Ranch. But my home is only so big and there are so many things I can create before it starts pouring out of the closets. Which is why I’m careful about the projects I choose. This year I threw aside caution and decided to take the plunge. I started crafting whatever drew me, despite not having a recipient for most of it. And then, last week,

I dove into the deep end of the pool and decided it was time to share some of my creations with the world by opening…

Stephannie Beman’s Shop on Etsy!

Yep! I’ve opened an Etsy Shop and it’s actually named Stephannie Beman’s Shop.

I know, it’s not that creative of a name, but after much deliberation I decided to sell everything under my own name rather than something catchy like Shop in the Woods, Homestead Treasures, Steph’s Creative Corner, The Enchanted Homestead, or even Cozy Cottage Crafts. I did it because:

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Blank Weekly Planner (Printable PDF) $4.95

1) I didn’t want to trap myself into a specific niche because my shop name implied certain types of crafts and then later deciding that I wanted to sell something different so I have to create another shop for it. Seen it happen all the time.

2) It made more sense to use my name than creating another business under a different name when I use my name for freelance graphic design and indie publishing.

3) I’m the boss of my shop and I have no intention of transferring or selling my shop to someone else, although I might let my Little Ones (who are almost as tall as I am BTW) make some crafty goodies to sell in my shop, I will stay the boss. 😛

2019PlannerEtsyCoverWeb

2019 Writer’s Planner Bound Planner $13.99 or Printable PDF Planner $8.99

My goals as a handmade crafter are much the same as my goals as a writer. I want to enjoy what I’m designing and creating. I want to work at my pace and within my time frame without pushing myself to create more things faster and lose the time I have with my family. I want to work on projects that interested me, regardless if it’s popular with ‘customers’. I want to create quality projects using nice materials even if it costs me more to do so.

Now I have plans to add more items to my shop, but for the moment there are the printable planners and printable planner inserts I created, both blank and dated, with more on their way. I also have a crochet pattern I created for my placemats, and I’m currently writing up more of my designs from my crafting journal to add to my shop.

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Crocheted Cotton Table Placemat (PDF Pattern) $3.95

Eventually, I’ll be adding physical inventory to my shop, such as scarves, hoods, beanies, shawls, afghans, fingerless gloves, placemats, etc. I’m debating creating a custom craft service where I will make things at the customers request and specifications, and I have a friend who has kindly agreed to be my test subject this next month. We are just waiting for the yarn for her project. This will allow me to figure out how I want to package and ship my goods to a customer.

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Waiting On Tracker (Printable PDF) $1.95

I want to create a professional look for my finished products and the packaging that I will send them in. So I did a little more research on packaging, Etsy, and product photography in preparation of opening the craft shop. I made a few choices on the look of my logo, shop branding, the packaging material for the physical items I will be selling, the look of my business cards, and the labels I will be attaching to my crafts.

I decided to have most of it printed using a professional service because my printer doesn’t like cardstock and it would just look better. So while I’m waiting for my orders to arrive, I’m working on taking better photos and creating more items to add.

Wishing you all the very best,

Stephannie Beman

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

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

Reviving the Children of Khaos Series

Yep! I’m bringing the Children of Khaos Series to life in a way that I didn’t really plan on.

Children of Khaos Series, Series Banner

Early last year, I was ready to throw the series into a drawer and start over with my writing in every way possible. By December 2017, I realized that the series deserved more respect then that. And, there are a few fans who have written me letters asking where My Lord Hades went and when is it coming back.

(I will email those who have been asking me about the book when I republish it.)

I want to take a moment to thank all those who have send emails of encouragement. You guys are the greatest! You’ve also inspired me to not only bring the Children of Khaos Series back, but write another book in the series.

But that isn’t all. I also plan to add more books.

Why did I decide to do this after swearing to never write another Children of Khaos book? Well, it wasn’t just because there are readers out their wanting more stories.

As I was working on my plans to resurrect a few books and breathe fresh air into others, I made the mistake  of starting with Death’s Lover. Even though it is the third book in the series, it had the least amount of work that needed to be done as it was the first that I had edited by one of the best editors I’ve worked with.

Reading Death’s Lover made me fall in love with the series all over again. I will confess that it is my favorite book in the entire series and it really made me want to bring the other two books up to the same level.  Plus I found a ton of teasers for future books hidden inside its pages that only add fuel to the creative fire.

That means I needed to add a few more to-dos to my ever growing to-do list. Over the next few weeks I’m going to:

  • Finish my read through of My Lord Hades (Lauralynn Elliot edited this book last year for me and I went through the edits at the time, but still felt something was a little off.). I will be tweaking some of the scenes for better clarity and removing a few that don’t need to be there.
  • Work on the rewrites of Loving the Goddess of Love and send it to my favorite editor to clean up. This book will not only gain several new scenes, but will also get a new book cover and title. I was never a fan of the original title and have wanted to change it for years now but I really didn’t have an idea what to name it. Now I do. And no I’m not going to share it with y’all yet.
  • Make notes for more stories while reading through the books, including scenes and notes for Beloved Kora.
  • Put together the front and back matter for this series so that it has an uniformed look.
  • Redo the interior formatting of Death’s LoverMy Lord Hades, and Loving the Goddess of Love, because for some reason the formatting for My Lord Hades is a little wonky.
  • Plan and design the look I want for the Children of Khaos book covers and redo all the covers. Some are getting a complete makeover, while others more of a upgrade.

I’m not sure how long this will take me, but they are near the top of my to-do list for my writing just below actually writing book #1 of the Sara Greenway Series.

Wishing you all the best!

Stephannie Beman