Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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A country girl’s life

As some of you know if you follow my blog, I’m a country girl. I love living in the country. As a child I played in the woods, corn fields, cow pasture, and mud puddles to my little heart’s delight. I’m raising my son to enjoy and respect the same countryside that I love. Now he fishes and hunts, not to mention plays in the mud and catches frogs. It’s just a wonderful life.

Take for instance this morning. We woke to a gorgeous sunny morning here in Georgia, which here lately is a wondrous sight. After a cup of coffee and toast we headed out to cut limbs out of our trees to allow the sun and breeze to blow easily through. But not before we watched Luke Bryan in all his gorgeousness hunting on a program my husband watches. 

Then it was time to weed the garden and pick the tomatoes. I gathered the ones in the bowl on the counter with the new ones. Yep, you guessed it. I canned them. Maybe you’re saying but wouldn’t it be easier to buy them already canned in the store. Well, yeah, but nothings better than in the dead of winter pulling out your frozen goods from the summer garden. It’s using God’s bounty that he generously provides us.  

I did take time to clean the house some. Now I’m propped on pillows in the bed with the sun streaming through the windows. We are actually getting what I call a true summer rain shower. It’s still sun shining as the rain gently falls. I have my laptop and now it’s time to get to work. 

The birds are singing outside the window and playing in the rose bushes. It would be a moment of quiet solitude if my son wasn’t two bedrooms up playing his drums and my husband is in the den watching the last Harry Potter. But it’s still peaceful in my country home.

As for the rest of the day, it will be committed to hours of working on my current manuscript. I’m excited. I worked last night until almost midnight. I would have worked longer, but my eyes were telling me it’s time to shut it down. Although my brain was still working as I tried to go to sleep. 

Hope your Saturday is a pleasant one. Take a little time to listen to the birds sing and watch a couple of clouds silently pass through the blue skies.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Cowboys Everywhere

Have you noticed all the romance novels that involve cowboys? As a writer of cowboy romance it’s very invigorating. I was scanning a couple of book sites yesterday and it was amazing how many were cowboy related. The covers were mostly graced with sexy cowboys sporting Stetsons and boots.

So, what’s up with all the cowboys. For so long every other book was graced with a vampire or other type of rogue character, but I’ve noticed more cowboys. Could it be that everyone is getting into the cowboy craze. Could country themes be making a comeback?

Well, as for me, that’s a good thing. If a book has a cowboy or horse on front, usually that’s the one I’ll pick up to read. So, go pick up a cowboy romance if you haven’t read one and come on over to our side 🙂

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Writing and Watermelon

It’s the middle of the summer and watermelon is in abundance here in the south. As I was having a way too big of a piece for lunch, I started to think about the similarities. Well, I know you’re thinking here she goes on another wild rabbit chase, but I do have a method to my madness 🙂

I was looking at my watermelon and noticing how the top inch or so has no seeds and then as you get into the middle it is almost completely seeded and then toward the rind for about a inch no seeds again.

In writing you start a book out with a solid story beginning. Always trying to make the story plausible so that the reader stays interested past the first chapter or two. Then you get to the middle and that’s where the real story just pops out and goes in every direction to fill in the body. The middle is full of the dark secrets of the story like the seeds of the watermelon. There are so many elements of the middle story. Then you get to the last of the book and you’re bringing it in tight again for a clean finish. One that will leave the reader wanting more if it’s a series or leaving them completely satisfied.

So, how’s your story going? Do you have your solid beginning and ending? Is the body of your story full of seeds that lead to the finale of a lifetime?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Time to Write

As a writer you have to make time to write. If not, you’re not writing. I sometimes struggle with this as I’m a busy person. As I’ve said before I’m an Accountant, Mother, Wife, Children’s Minister, Blogger, and Writer. My philosophy is you only live once so live everyday like it’s your last.

Some days I get frustrated because the characters of my books are running around screaming in my head, but it’s alright. I know that they’ll find their voice. Do you have a hard time finding time around life to write? Do you struggle with your characters being louder than everything?

Oh, and I forgot to add that I now have a small publishing service called Horseshoe Publishing. Yep, I’m a glutton for punishment. Not to mention my assistant is leaving me in two weeks to finish up college at the University of Georgia. I’m so proud of her, but that’s for another post as I’m already tearing up just saying it out loud. She’s also my niece, so I’m a proud aunt.

Let’s just say time is on short supply and I need at least 36 hours in a day. Go over and support my writing and maybe I can eliminate one of the jobs. Just kidding, I love what I do. Well, you can still go over and support my writing if you want to. I’m not a pushy person as you well know from my blogs.

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…


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“Victoria” Cover Reveal

I think this has been the hardest book cover for me. I’ve had in my mind what I wanted since I started to work on this book back last summer. But what’s funny about my mind is that it has a mind of it’s own. No really 🙂

I sat down with my cover designer and drew out what I had in mind. Well after several eyebrow arches and looks of “What?” later, she told me to hunt the pictures and we’d put it together. 

As I searched the pictures I found two really cool antique looking photos and well, let’s just say that was it. My mind changed and the cover took on a whole new look. What’s even funnier is that the book that started out as a stand alone has turned into a several book saga. Well, I’ve always said the mind of a writer is crazy and takes many turns. Here’s that curvy road of my mind. 

So without further talk, here’s the front cover for “Victoria” the first book in the “Women of Magnolia Hill Saga” :

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Let me know what you think. I’m so excited about this one. It took on a life of it’s own and with my very talented cover designers extraordinary talents it’s done. Now I’ve got to get the book done. It’s over 20,000 words and hopefully will be 3 or 4 times longer when finished. 

As always, Good Writing and May God Bless You…


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Brain faster than fingers

As a writer when an idea comes through your brain you either have to write it down or put in your computer almost immediately. I’ve learned as I get older, my memory can’t hold for very long. Sometimes I have to stop what I’m doing and write the thought down on anything available. My editor just loves my notes. Napkins work really well 🙂 That’s clean napkins!

Sometimes the way my brain works my fingers can’t keep up. I’ll be typing as fast as my fingers will let me, but my brain is ahead of me. That’s when it gets crazy. I get frustrated because my brain is spitting the story out like a battalion leader, but my fingers are still at start. 

One day I got so frustrated that I actually sat down with a pen and paper and wrote the story. My editor just looked at me and laughed. When I didn’t say anything she was like you didn’t really hand write this did you? I smiled and said at least it got out of my head. She usually just shakes her head and starts typing. Sometimes I think she wants to throw things at me. 

Is your brain faster than your fingers? 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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It’s raining outlines…

Here in Georgia we’ve had a years worth of rain in just weeks. When we walk in our yard we have to slosh through puddles. The grass is spongy. A little sun would be a nice reprieve. I know I saw the animals pairing up this morning 🙂 (Just a little Noah humor). Yep, I need to see some sunshine and soon…

As I sit on the couch with the recliner out and my laptop in my lap, I watch the rain. The lightning moves in and out daily. It’s good writing weather as we can’t go out and lounge in the pool or sit in the sun. Even working the garden is a chore due to the Georgia red clay.

But the blog is about outlines and writing. I know I’ve talked about them before but this is a little different. As I hinted before I’m working on a historical romance and it’s based around the Civil War. Well, I had to do a outline of the timeline of the Civil War. But that’s just the start.

To keep up with the family tree which is going to get tricky, I’ve started a type of family tree outline. As this is going to be a Saga and go through to today’s time I’ve got to make sure to keep the mamas and papas and kids straight. Now as a writer this can get crazy if you’re writing and forget who belongs to who.

Well, then there’s the outline for the story itself. I definitely need this to keep me straight. I don’t need to kill anyone off that’s important for future parts to the Saga.

By the way, it will be named the “Women of Magnolia Hill Saga” and the first book is “Victoria”. I’m already almost 20,000 words in and only part of the way. This is going to be a long one, so get ready.

So far I’m up to 3 outlines for this story. Usually I only have one, so this is a record breaker for me. Do you use outlines? If so, have you ever had multiple outlines for one book?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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What’s up with people these days?

Have you noticed people these days are more opinionated? People have always had an opinion, but with social media taking over, it’s more apparent and out there everywhere. The reason I’m posting on this is the way people do things.

Take for instance. I received a review on one of my books. The person gave me a 1 star review which is their opinion and I can take criticism, but only when it’s constructive. The review simply stated “Pease relieve my mind. Whyis tender flame and moonbeames and roses using the ssme names but different stories. Nothimg is mention about others that were mention tender flames. What happened to sarahs baby……..damn why wright two books using wes and sarah”. I copied this from the actual review. Does anyone see anything wrong with this review other than the spelling and nasty word?

Now don’t get me wrong, Criticism is a big part of writing and I use constructive criticism for good. My issue is that Tender Flames and Moonbeam & Roses are two entirely different books and many writers use the same character names in different books. Why do people do this to writers? Moonbeam & Roses is a stand alone book and Tender Flames clearly states it’s part of the Flames of Love series. I just don’t get it. Let us know what you thought about the book, not the characters names. That’s a odd point.

Opinions run rampant, but when your opinions are not constructive but destructive should you voice them? Many people like to voice destructive opinions publicly. It’s bad for those that are public figures. Look at how movie stars get raked over the coals. If they make one misstep or wear the wrong color shoes with the outfit they get a social media dress down.

So, what’s up with people these days? Some people are like moths to the flame when it comes to negativity. I can say this, when you do a review for a book whether it’s a 1 star or 5 star, make sure it’s relevant to the book. What does it matter the names of the characters? When you watch a star do a interview, what does it matter the color of their shoes or the way they combed their hair? Look at what they’re saying or their acting skills, not their fashion sense.

Everyone has their opinion about something or someone, that’s their right, but should they go crazy with how they express it. I guess my upbringing taught me to not sling mud and to watch what I say because I could be on the receiving end one day. Boy was that ever right. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Do you like it long or short?

Well, do you like it long or short? You may be scratching your head and saying, well that’s it, she’s finally lost what’s left of her brain. What I mean is reading. Do you like a long novel or a short easy read?

I was reading a post yesterday about a study done on how many actually finish a long novel. It intrigued me. I started thinking about all the books that I’ve started and they were good up to a point, then about 100 or so pages in I lost track of where the book was going. But then later I pick it up and finish it on a rainy day.

I’ve written long and short books, but I get the better response from the short ones. Amazingly enough a lot of people prefer a short, easy read that get’s to the heart of the story quickly and keeps them enthralled for a couple of hours. Several publishing sites actually have a special segment of publishing call short reads or lunch time reads.

When I was younger the craze was the long novel and now it seems the shorter the better. I was going through some new books on Smashwords.com the other day and over half of them were less than 10000 words. Amazing.

I guess that’s why my shorter novels sell better. Funny isn’t it. We’ve gotten to such a busy way of life that we’ve even shortened our reading time. Oh, we still make time for reading, but we want to do it in record time so we can go out and get busy again. Oh well, I’ll just write what I feel like I need to get my stories across and hope it passes the test. 

So, let me ask again, Do you like it long or short? See I told you it wasn’t a crazy question…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…