Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Choose your words wisely…

Words can be powerful things. They can inspire anger, love, romance, tears, and even envy. As a writer that’s our chosen task is to inspire with our words. Whether it be a mere 5000 word short story novella or a 80,000 word novel, we strive to inspire every emotion in our words. Sometimes the words we choose don’t inspire at all, but encourage.

Words have many different meanings. They can have many facets that follow down a path of the story. Some words mean different things with just the change of scenery. It’s amazing the changes words can bring about in a story. One word can stop the breath of the character or bring about a gasp of love.

As writers we strive to craft a masterpiece just as a sculpture uses a chisel and stone, we use a thesaurus or dictionary to craft the perfect piece of artwork.We chisel at a story and shape it to our way of thinking. We work at it hard and steady shaping out every detail so that the reader is transported to another world. Our characters have to be given the same care as a fine piece of marble ready for the chisel of a master. In order for the reader to understand or know the character we have to choose the right words to describe the character just as a sculpter chisels the features of the face of his art.

It’s amazing how a well crafted story can give you a new outlook, a small sense of accomplishment and maybe even a new set of fans. As I craft my stories I try to put everything at my disposal. Using different words to mold the story into reality can give the reader a new outlook as well as yourself.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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The day after the feast…

The day after the feast and I sit here feeling like I’m still full. I don’t even think I can eat breakfast. Although I will make room for a cup of coffee. I always have room for that. It’s crazy the feeling I have on the day after Thanksgiving. The excitement of the Christmas season is stirring around in my mind. I feel the decorating bug coming on heavily and know that by the end of the day my house will look like as my hubby would say “Christmas threw up all over the place”. 

I’m not a shopper like most on black Friday. Going out into the wilds of shopper frenzy is not the least enticing to me. Now cyber Monday is my day to shop. I can sit in my living room and shop til my fingers cramp. No hassles, no crowds, no fighting over the last sale item, just me and my laptop. 

Now that the Christmas book is finished and the other books are in the works I feel a little better. But the stories dance in my head like sugar plums. I’m trying to finish the works I’ve got started, but the stories keep popping in and taking over. So as I sit here and enjoy a long leisurely morning of movies, coffee and Christmas decorations my mind is whirling with stories and covers and other bookish things.

Why is it a writer never takes a vacation or holiday? Since my accounting office is closed until Monday I don’t have figures dancing in my head, but the writer in me stays awake at night with thoughts and ideas. I watch movies and ideas pop in my head, I listen to music and ideas pop into my head, I see a picture and ideas pop into my head. yeah I’ve got it bad. 

Someone asked me one day, ‘Don’t you ever run out of things to write?’ Well, sometimes I have writer’s block on a certain story line. That’s when I move on to the other work in progress and eventually I move back the one that was blocked for a little time. As a writer your mind is usually on overdrive. Crazy how it works. 

The only bad thing about the stories whirling in your brain is the times you want them to stop they usually speed up. As I slipped into bed last night I thought I was sleepy, but as soon as my head hit the pillow I knew it was useless. I lay on one side and then the other, fighting with sleep, try desperately to win. Finally I sat up realizing it was futile. I grabbed my Kindle and headed to sit by the fire in the den. I needed to clear my head so I read for three hours, yeah three hours. When I looked up at the clock I was glad that I didn’t have to go into the office the next morning. 

As I sit here this morning watching Sabrina and enjoying my coffee the stories are pushing past this post, wanting to escape. I know what all needs to be done to get ready to decorate, but the writer in me wants to just sit here all day with Christmas movies in the background and my laptop in my lap. Oh I love this life.

But alas, I do need to make my house look festive as this is my favorite time of year. So buckle yourself up and get ready for the ride because from now until Christmas I’ll be in high gear. Let’s get our Christmas on…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Giving Many Thanks

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As I sit here typing this post I’m thankful for my family, friends, and adoring fans that have made my writing dreams a reality. I’m greatful for the warm fire crackling, the cinnamon rolls on my plate and the delicious coffee in my cup. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is coming on and I sit here waiting as if I were a child for all the floats and then the big guy himself Santa.

I’ve had so much to be thankful for this year. I’ve been honored to be included three times in magazines, my sales have been steady thanks to my faithful fans, I’ve been for the most part healthy, I made it through my son’s football season without losing my mind, and most of all thankful for my wonderful family and friends. I’ve been blessed with an adoring husband, wonderful son and even though they’re not my blood children, two wonderful stepchildren and a step grandson. This year our family was graced with the addition of a son in law and his adorable daughter. It’s been an awesome year so far.

As for my writing it’s been a stellar year. I’ve published several books and expanded my distribution channels. I’ve been included in the Southern Writer’s Magazine and Fleet Life in the UK. My blog has seen many new followers from all over the world. I’ve cherished each and every new friend. It’s amazing the friendships you gain through blogs, books, and social media.

As for the rest of my family, I have a loving mother, motherinlaw, brother, sisterinlaws and brotherinlaws. I’m a lucky woman to have the awesome family I have. We love one another without pretense and are there for each other through thick and thin. I have a wonderful Church family and my faith has been multiplied this year with every step of life.

I wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving today and when you sit down with your family be thankful for the food God has blessed you with and the family gracing your table. It’s through Him all of it is possible.

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…


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Print books, Ebooks, and Audio books, which way do I go?

Writers have a lot of decisions to make. The process does not stop when you type ‘The End’. You have to decide how you will publish your work. Are you going to self publish or send it to a traditional publisher. Then if you decide to self publish you have to decide if it’s going to be an Ebook only or will you be doing a print book also. 

When you decide to do a print book it’s a process. With an Ebook you have just a front cover to design, but when you do a print book it’s a whole new design ball game. This process is a little more complex. You have to get your page count and then figure the size of the cover including front, back, and end. If you’re off very much the cover will roll to the back or front, bleeding over. Yep, been there. It’s a decision you need to make sure you’re ready for.

Then of course you have to decide who you’re going to print through. I use CreateSpace powered through Amazon. They’re easy to work with and using Expanded Distribution by print books go out to larger distributors and book stores online. I’ve set up an account with Lightning Source but only have my Ebooks listed right now with them.They have a hefty setup fee that I’m having to decide if I want to do right now. 

Another decision is the type of cover and paper color. The first run I did was a learning experience. I did the white paper and didn’t like it as much as the cream colored paper. The white paper has a different feel. Of course all of mine are paperback, but you can do a hardback. Also you can do matte finish now on the cover. Decisions, Decisions…

The publishing process is a many faceted thing. You don’t just write the book and step away. Well you can, but you’re not going anywhere if you do that. As for me I choose to go all the way. I have my books in print and Ebook.

Oh and there’s another side to publishing. Audio books… I took the leap into audio books back in the summer. It’s a new type of process. I’ve enjoyed meeting the narrators of the books. It’s fun to listen to someone read your book. I use ACX with is through Amazon also. They’re easy to use. Just set up an account and download your book. Then start listening to excerpts from various narrators. When you find one you like send them a message asking them to audition for your book. Once you get a couple of auditions then pick one and go with it. You can make pretty good on audible books.

So are you ready to publish that work. Sure you are. Just take the step forward and go for it. If you need any help just check out the link at the top of my site, Horseshoe Publishing. We’re here to help with the process. 

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you…


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Rainy day in the South

Well, I woke this morning to the pitter patter of rain. A very cold rain. It’s dark and dreary outside, but inside it’s warm and cheery. My writer’s mind is writing it as a sunny, beautiful day. That’s the fun thing about being a writer. I can rewrite the day in my pretend world. You may be saying, Stephanie, honey, your writing is not life. I’m well aware of that, but writing is part of my life. You make your feelings the way you want to. 

If it’s drab outside you can control how you feel about it. You either let it get you in a crabby mood or you smile and say it’s a beautiful day. It’s the same with writing. You are the one that chooses the feeling of it. It can be sad, happy, scary, or whatever you want it to be. As I sit and work on finishing a sad to happy book it’s a good day to write the happy part. 

You’re in control of your life. Well most of the time. Don’t let emotions control your life. I used to struggle with this. I’d let the day control me. If it was raining I’d be down and out. But I realized one day that I could control that. No I can’t control the weather before you ask, but I can control how I react to it. 

It’s the same with my writing. I control the destiny of the characters. If they’re happy or sad it’s up to me.So as I sip my warm coffee, laced with pumpkin spice creamer I smile and say rain, rain, go away, come back another day. But I smile. Live every day with a smile. Come on, you feel that smile coming, just let it out.

I hope every one of you stay safe in this rolling storm system because of the icy side of it.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you…


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New Release and the holidays…

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My new Christmas book is up and running. This has been a joy to work on. As you all know I love the Christmas season and adding cowboys and Switzerland which is on my bucket list just adds to it. I’ve been researching Switzerland for many, many years and to get to use some of that in this book has been awesome.

What’s funny is this was supposed to be a stand alone book, but this writer’s heart just couldn’t stop it at that. It’s going to be a whole series on romance in the Alps. I’m really excited about this series as it explores the country I’d love to visit. Since I will probably never visit this beloved country, I’ll live it through fiction. 

I do hope everyone is enjoying this week of Thanksgiving. Don’t forget to thank those you love and those you need to love for the many things they do. I hope those that don’t have romance can find romance. It’s wonderful! Everyone needs it in their lives.

Here’s an excerpt from Open The Heart – Alpine Christmas Romance:

When she emerged from the bathroom thirty minutes later totally refreshed, she saw lying on the bed a Christmas ball. She giggled. Where had he found a Christmas ornament?

She opened her bedroom door and found bright red tinsel stretched all the way to the stairs. She picked it up and rolled it up as she walked. She glanced over the balcony and found him elbow dip in a huge box of Christmas decorations. She let out a laugh that echoed across the high ceilings.

The look in his eyes when he looked up was like a young boy waiting on Santa. She joined him on the floor by the fire. “I thought you didn’t celebrate Christmas.”

“I said I hadn’t celebrated in a while, but that didn’t mean I didn’t have decorations. These were some my mom had given me the year before…” He trailed off. Then he cleared his throat and turned toward her. “I’ve loved Christmas all my life. I just stepped away from it for a while.”

She grinned and looked in the box. They had everything to decorate the house and a tree. “Do you have a tree?”

He laughed and stood up, grabbing her hand. He pulled her to her feet. “That’s a funny question. We have a whole mountain of Christmas trees. I have one of the horses saddled and a cart attached just outside the door. The snow is falling lighter right now, so we’re going hunting.”

She giggled in excitement. It had been years since she’d been out in the woods hunting a tree. “Do you have an axe?” She gave him her most serious expression.

“Oh, you’re funny. Don’t you think I’d think of that first?” He hugged her and pulled her hat up and tied it under her chin. “Let’s go get a tree before the next storm hits.”

This is just a snippet of the fun these two have in their snow filled Alpine Christmas adventure. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Here’s the 2 links already up and running:

http://www.amazon.com/Open-Heart-Alpine-Christmas-Romance-ebook/dp/B00GW6T6AQ

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/381389


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Exploring your heart…

I’m a hopeless romantic and if you haven’t gotten that through my blogs where have you been? In my writing I express the romance and love that’s in my heart. I hurt when my characters hurt and laugh when they laugh, of course my son thinks I’ve lost my mind much of the time. I’ll just laugh out as I’m writing. He just looks at me and shakes his head. Oh well, I have to be a little crazy to be an artist, right. 

Since I’ve been working on my Christmas romance I’ve experienced many feelings. I’ve been angry, happy, sad, mournful, cold, and then excited. This book runs the whole lot of feelings. I’ve tried to carry my reader into a new world. Hopefully one that they will want to explore further with the second book. Whoops did I just give away a secret? Yes I did. Well the cats out of the bag, There will be a book two for The Alpine Romance. It’s funny how it just hits you when something needs to be carried to another plateau.

I’ve also been working on finishing book two in the “Lean On Him” Christian series. This one has to be visited in spurts. The book has taken a toll on me emotionally. A couple of months ago I put an excerpt on Avon Romance submission pages and a kind lady came in to tell me how emotional that scene made her. It brought a smile to my face. My editor read the first chapter and when she turned to me she had tears in her eyes. Yep, it’s going to be a emotional romance. I just hope it inspires my readers to find romance and hold on to it, because you never know when it will slip away. Sometimes we lose the love of our life, but there’s always the chance to find love again, you just have to open your heart.

So to me, writing romance explores your own heart. Can you write romance if you don’t believe in it? I really don’t think so. I think you have to believe with all your heart that romance is real and that love can be found in the oddest places. Every book I’ve written has taken a different angle of love. Maybe it’s the love lost, then found again, or new love found, but held away by force. Whatever the way, the love always shines through. That’s what makes romance one of the top genres right now. We all need something to hope for, to wish for, and to know it exists if only in fiction. 

My challenge to you is this. Explore your heart to find the part of it that expresses how you feel. Pull on it until you’re just drained and then you’re ready to pour it out in fiction. Some days when I close my laptop I’m exhausted, but content. I’ve explored the many emotions of my characters and made it through. That’s what draws in the reader, the pull of your heart to theirs.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…