Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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On the first day of December…

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It’s the first day of December and I can’t believe it. In a year that’s been nothing short of crazy, beginning the official Christmas season is truly needed.

I’ve been a little off the grid for the last couple of days. Between holiday madness, online shopping, and a writing deadline, my brain was stretched. But, I’m back. And no, I’m not done with my Christmas shopping, but I’ve made the delivery guys really happy, just saying.

On Saturday, our family did our annual trip to the Christmas tree farm. And this year, well, I went big. Yep, I got a 10 foot tree and it’s almost that wide. It didn’t look that big in the middle of the tree farm. But once we got it home… My hubby and son just shook their heads. They knew… I didn’t…

Anyway, after many trips up and down the ladder, I got it decorated. Which is another reason I’ve been missing in action. I’ll share pictures of the finished project tomorrow once I finish putting out all of my treasured decorations. But for now, I’ll sip my coffee and watch the lights twinkle.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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If your story falls apart, use Duct Tape!

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Duct tape is a house staple, just as salt, sugar and flour are food staples. For many years people have fixed almost everything with duct tape. At Church we even fixed a broken Christmas tree with duct tape, no really we did. It’s strong and durable. Also you can get it in any width and color so it’s versatile.

What if your story is falling apart? We all have those manuscripts that start out really good and we have a phenomenal ending planned, but the middle has so many holes and fractures that it puts a real stink on the beginning and ending. Well, put a little duct tape on it. What am I talking about? Well, here goes the answer in a nutshell.

By duct tape I mean sit down with your beginning and ending. Then really look at it. Where is the character headed? The middle needs some suspense or issue that needs to carry the reader over the hump to the end. It needs something that only the ending can shed some light on. This is where the duct tape comes in.

As I said above, duct tape is strong and durable with lots of versatility, so the middle of the book needs to be taped up neatly. But be careful not to just add fluffy filler that makes the reader fall asleep with boredom. If the first of the book is power packed, then make the middle explode with tension. This is the strong duct tape. Add an element of complete surprise. Let the main character have a major problem that needs solving, or maybe a secret that is threatening to come out, but the secret has to be life altering.

But make sure that it can mesh with your great ending. I did this one time and a book that started out being only around 30,000 words went over 50,000 words with a little duct tape application. Crazy, but true. I had this really great beginning that pulled you in and the ending left you breathless, but the middle was just a bunch of fluff. As I did my first read through I was almost dozing and that’s not good. I sat down and spread out the beginning and ending, then totally restructured my characters. I added a whole new dimension to them that took them on an adventure that meshed well with the ending and soon I had a complete story that I was proud to hit the publish button on.

So, get you some duct tape and pull that story together. If you use the right duct tape it will hold together nicely.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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In the Right Order…Or NOT!

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Happy Thanksgiving week! It’s Monday, so forgive me if I ramble a bit. After a busy weekend, I need multiple cups of coffee just to get my eyes open. But, for now, let’s talk writing.

Do you have to do things in the right order? Well, it’s according to what you’re doing. You can’t bake a cake before you make the batter. You can’t ice a cake before you bake it.

With writing, you can write the ending before you write the beginning. How? For some writers, they have to get the last scene written in order to get a grip on the first three fourths.

I’ve posted several things on outlines and writing technique. And I’ve always said, put your ideas together, so that you know where you’re headed. Before you ask, yes, I’ve written the last scene of a book first. Of course, when I did, the ending changed slightly as the first parts were written and put in place.

Since I write in Scrivener, sometimes I go ahead and put in the Chapter heads that go with my outline first. That way I can write different scenes ahead of time. If I get stuck on a certain part, sometimes skipping ahead helps to beat writers block.

The goal of the post is to let you know, it’s alright to write your book in the wrong order. Just make sure that it fits together like a puzzle. The pieces need to fit, but not forced.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Podcast coming…

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Yes, you heard me right. I took the Podcast plunge. The Coffee & A Good Book podcast will be up and going soon. I’ll keep all of you updated. I’m excited and nervous, all at the same time. Being in front of the camera is out of my comfort zone, way out of it. But in front of the microphone, I feel a little less intimidated. We’ll see how it goes.

The podcast will feature author interviews, book reviews, lots of coffee talk, NO POLITICS, romance talks, writing talk, and more book talk than you can get through a short podcast… If you’ve followed my blog for very long, you know how much I love writing, books and coffee. So, this made me want to keep the talk going, but this time in a different format.

Keep watching for the release date. I can’t wait to connect with everyone.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Just Let It Go…

Can you believe it’s a week until Thanksgiving? This year is flying by and in my opinion, that could be a good thing. It’s been a crazy year!

Just Let It Go…

It’s the same with writing. If you have a story line that keeps bugging you, then let it go. As in, let it go where it needs to. Most writers will tell you that if a story starts in your brain, it will drive you crazy until you do something with it.

Now, it’s not to say that some of the ideas that come through your head are publish worthy. If I had a dollar for every story idea I had that flopped before the first chapter was done, well, let’s just say, I’d be in a good position. Sometimes though, it’s hard to Just Let It Go…

Don’t waste your time on stories that don’t go far. You need to focus on those stories that can go the distance. As I said in an earlier post, make sure that your story can make it through plotting and scene set up. Then, you’ll have a story to publish.

If not, then Just Let It Go…

In life sometimes we have to Just Let It Go…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

P.S. Wine, Wedding, And The Cowboy is coming out December 4th, so preorder now! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08DF9JC3V/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i25

Release Date: December 4, 2020


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Wednesday Warm Thoughts…

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It’s mighty cold here in Georgia on this Tuesday morning. As I write this post, the fire is crackling and popping in the fireplace, keeping me toasty warm. Do you enjoy a good fire on a cold morning?

For me, sitting by a warm fire inspires me to write more. Why is that? I love to come down the hall on cold mornings and hear the crackling fire. As soon as I have a cup of coffee in my hands, I stand in front of the fire, letting it warm me to my soul. It’s a wonderful feeling.

Not to mention I’m finishing up the last of my Christmas romance, which comes through easier with a cozy fire. Now just to get up my Christmas tree and decorations. But that will have to wait until after the upcoming busy weekend.

Enjoy every moment… Listen to the crackle of a fire… Give yourself a moment every day to just be…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Step out of your comfort zone…

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Alright, every writer knows what I’m talking about when I say, to publish your manuscript, you have to step out of your comfort zone. It’s that moment that you hit submit… Your body trembles… You begin to sweat… You rethink everything in your manuscript… Did I change that dialogue? Did I correct that misspelled word? Did I send it to the right place?

We’ve all felt it and for me, every time I hit submit, I still go through all of these feelings. Even after over 45 romances published, it never gets easier. But it starts to get more satisfying.

So, if you have a manuscript that you’re just holding on to, put it out there. It can’t soar if you don’t. Let your book step out in the light and breathe.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Setting attainable goals…

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Good Monday morning! Goals… We set them all the time, but do we meet them? A lot of time goals are just something we set and it just makes us focus on getting close. But in writing, we need to meet those goals and make them a reality. Why? Follow me on this one.

Ok, so a word count goal can be changed or not met, unless you are going for a submission guideline that you have to meet or exceed. That’s a flexible goal if there is no guideline to meet.

But, it’s important to meet the deadline that you set for releasing your book. Especially if it’s set up for a preorder on any book site. If you don’t meet that goal, then you could lose some permissions through those sites. Not to mention how readers see you as a writer.

So, how do we set attainable goals? You’ll need a couple of things before you can do this:

1. Calendar – On the computer, printed out, or hand drawn. It’s not important what kind of calendar you have. I like to get a planner with large boxes for the days of the month, along with the separated days for making notes.

2. Pencil – I only use a pencil in my planner so if changes come, I can make them without making it look cluttered with mark throughs.

Once you have the two above items, then sit down and focus on the next set of goals:

  1. Word Count – This is an important thing, even though it can vary. But if you’re setting up a release date that has to be solid, you need to know what you can do in the time between starting and releasing. Is it a novella or novel?
  2. Daily Word Count – If you can easily write 1000 words a day, then go to the calendar and count out 50 days for a 50,000 word book. Be sure to give yourself some wiggle room for days that you can’t write as much. But remember, it’s possible that you’ll have it done way ahead of time, but also, things happen, so prepare ahead.
  3. Release Date – Now that you know a basic word count, plus a tentative date to finish the writing part, then set a release date. If you are writing a 50,000 word book, don’t set it for next week. Open the calendar and begin searching for a date that will give you enough time to write, edit, and release.

Now that you have your goals set, start writing and have fun. If you’ve given yourself plenty of time, then all should go well. And remember, this is what you love to do, so don’t let that word count make you tense. You’ve got this!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Stay up to date on all of my upcoming releases here, and:

website: www.stephaniehurtauthor.com

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/stephanie-payne-hurt


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Why authors are important…

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Good Saturday morning! I want to share a little something with all of you. Not long ago I had a fan message me. She went on to tell me that my book had made her day. It helped her through a bad day, making things seem not as bad as it seemed.

Well, that message got me to thinking about the importance of authors in this world we live in. With so much uncertainty and despair, we as authors can spread a little joy. Or at least give someone a way to get lost for a while. As for my way of thinking, I consider authors important to our sanity. We have to continue writing the words that fill the imaginations of people all over the world. It only takes one book to give someone a chance to step out of reality, if only for a moment.

Romance authors have the chance to take someone to another time or place and give them a little romance to warm their heart. We can help someone realize that they are not alone in this world, but that love is all around us.

Mystery authors can add some intrigue to someone’s life. They give them a purpose, such as solving a crime or getting lost in a crime thriller.

Horror writers take us on a roller coaster ride with exhilarating chills. Fear can make the adrenaline flow in a sedentary time.

Self help writers can teach us ways to do things differently. We all need some help from time to time.

Now, there are many other genres to talk about, but for now, this will have to do. I have a deadline and maybe I’ll be able to get lost in a book for a while today.

As always, Good writing and May God Bless You…


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North Georgia Adventure…

Good Thursday morning. Monday, we took a day trip to the North Georgia mountains. It was a much needed trip to getaway and reboot. I love the mountains. It’s one of my favorite places.

The leaves were still pretty, even though they most had already turned. The picture above was from the side of the road. We’d been driving on winding roads and found this lookout. When we got out of the car, the temperature had dropped over 10 degrees from the previous stop at the orchard. There was no sound other than the wind drifting through the leaves. It was breathtaking.

This little waterfall was at our next stop. Just the sound of the water trickling over the rocks had such a calming effect. I could have camped out beside this waterfall for days. There is nothing quite as reflective as a day spent in nature. The beauty of God’s creation can take you by surprise and leave you with so much hope and belief that everything is alright.

This valley was beautiful. We were headed out of the high mountains and started through this green pastureland in the valley. There were old barns and fences that made the writer in me want to know more. Who had lived there? What had life been living here in the valley of the mountains? Did they have horses, cows, chickens, and other animals? Did the beauty of the mountains make them smile every morning when they walked out to see the beauty around them? Just a few thoughts I had as we drove through this little valley.

As you can see, we had a wonderful day trip. It only took us two and a half hours to get to this beautiful place where land meets sky. And it was worth the drive. To get there, we had to go through downtown Atlanta. It always amazes me how much the city has changed since I was a young girl traveling with my parents to the mountains every fall. I still get that little girl feeling as we pass by the tall buildings.

So, hope you enjoyed the small look into our wonderful trip. I shared all of the photos that were taken over on my Facebook page. It only takes a moment away from normal life to get a treat. Take every chance you get to get away for a while. It was just a day trip, but it did so much to refresh my mind and get me back on track. Don’t let life pass you by. Find joy in the little things.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…