Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Where are you headed? Not Sure?

That’s a hard question sometimes. Most people have no idea where they’re headed in life. They just take like as it comes and usually don’t make plans for the future. Do you have a plan? Have you got your future in mind or just living in the past?

Life is full of turns, curves, stop signs, yields and just plan out warning signals that go unattended. How do you plan to see it through? Do you live life by the seat of your pants, never knowing which way to go when you get to the fork in the road? Most of us stand that this fork and stare straight ahead, confused and not sure what happens next. 

This happens so many times with writers. You write your manuscript, but now what? Do you publish it? Do you take a chance with a traditional publisher, but then again do you take a chance self publishing it? This is a hard question to ask yourself, but if you want to become a writer, it’s a question that needs an answer. What’s your goal?

Here’s a couple of road blocks that can come along:

1: Turns: This happens after you type The End. Are you self disciplined enough to self publish? Are you patient enough to wait on a traditional publisher? 

2: Curves: Well you’ve made the decision as to how you want to publish your work. What now? If you decide to self publish the road can have many curves and you have to be disciplined enough to take those curves and move forward carefully. If you decide to send it to a traditional publisher, then the curves can be a long time coming and then when they do can you handle the possibility of a 90 degree curve when they either accept it or reject it?

3: Stop Signs: This is when you come to a complete halt. Either your manuscript is completely rejected by a traditional publisher or you decide to self publish and you have no idea where to go from here. That happens, how do you pull away from that stop sign?

4: Yield: With self publishing you have to know when to slow down and take the next step carefully. You need to be patient and slow down before going forward. This is also a good way to handle turning over your manuscript to a traditional publisher. Have you had your manuscript edited by someone other than yourself? One of the easiest way to be rejected by either way you publish is to send in your manuscript before it’s ready. Don’t run straight through the yield without slowing and taking a second look.

5: Warning signs: Also follow the warning signs. Don’t jump into the frying pan without being ready for the burn. If you don’t handle the business as it needs to be handled you will end up getting burned, rejected and ignored in the market. Remember writing is a business and the second you decide to publish, you’re a writer and that’s a business. Run it with that in mind. 

So, where are you headed? Do you know your plan? Before you take that huge step into publishing, figure it out. Know what you want to achieve and make a plan. Don’t go into it without knowing the risks.

If you want to self publish and don’t know where to go from the words The End, check out the publishing service that I’m a partner in, Horseshoe Publishing. We strive to help authors move forward and put out the best product they can. The link to what we do is at the top of my page. We are offering a Spring Into Action 25% off special, so check us out.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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Men and romance novels…

If you’re a man, do you read romance novels? Well, there’s nothing wrong with that. I know plenty of men that read romance. I have several male fans and I think that’s wonderful. It could be that I write cowboy romance, but they read the couple of non cowboy books too. 

When I was younger I couldn’t see a man enjoying a good romance novel, but I’ve had my eyes opened. I have a couple of male authors that I love to follow and they write romance. It’s amazing the amount of romance that some men can pull into a romance. Most men would not feel comfortable admitting they read romance or wrote romance, but not these men. 

Do you know a male romance author? What about a man that loves a good romance? As for me I know several on both counts. My hubby doesn’t read or write romance, but he loves a good romantic movie. That’s a plus for me because I’m drawn to them like a moth to a flame. 

If you’re a man and you love a good romance or maybe you write romance, then let me know. I’d love to interview you here on my blog. Come on, don’t be shy 🙂

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Silence! I’m Writing Here!

Where do you write? Do you need a quiet place or can life go on around you leaving you unhindered? It’s a perplexing question in many ways. I’ve talked to several writers on this subject and the answers vary. 

Some writers tell me that they need silence while writing. They don’t want any music or sound. It hinders their creative thoughts. Then others say they have to have music going to keep the creative juices flowing. Others can write with the television going and life streaming around them. It’s so different with every writer.

As for me I guess it’s the mood I’m in. Most of my writing happens at night while the television is blaring. I sit on one end of the couch and my son on the other and my hubby is in his recliner. When I’m in writing mode, usually the outside world disappears. What’s funny is I can keep up with a movie and writing at the same time. I learned how to multi-task when my son was a infant. Since I own a accounting business, he was raised up in my office. I had to answer phones while giving him a bottle, prepare a profit and loss statement while rocking him to sleep and deal with the colic while meeting a tax deadline. Yeah, I can multi-task with the best of them.

Of course I love my morning time writing. When my son is off to school and hubby has left for work, I sit in my pj’s and sip my coffee. This is my time to blog, check my sites and do a little intense writing. I try to steal a couple of minutes here and there during the day, but when you run a busy accounting office, that’s few and far away. 

I do love to write with music playing softly in the background. When I have the house to myself, usually I have Pandora running. My listening pleasures vary drastically. My son laughs when he walks into my office. I have Pandora running all day in the office. The stations I listen to vary from Adam Levine Radio, Evanescence Radio, Luke Bryan Radio, Drunk On Country Radio to 80’s Love Songs Radio. I told you they vary. Some days I add in Classical Radio too. It’s all according to my mood. But my Pandora stations are always on shuffle. So you never know what will come up. Then of course I have my CD’s for when I want a more chiseled effect. That varies broadly. The one that gets my hubby and son is the Celtic Sounds CD that I play sometimes. They’ll roll their eyes and walk back out. I usually laugh.

So, how do you like to write? Do you need silence or music? If you use music as your muse, what’s you favorite writing sounds?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Dusting off an old manuscript…

As most of you know I’ve been writing stories most of my life. Several of my books come from manuscripts that I wrote many years ago. I was cleaning out a drawer the other day and ran up on a spiral notebook. I didn’t think anything about it and set it on the table with some other papers to go through. 

When I finished cleaning out the drawer and the one below it, I decided to see if the notebook was just a old one from my son. He’s bad about saving them from prior school years. As I opened it I was surprised to find one of my stories. Of course I dropped everything and sat down to read the story. The funny thing is I didn’t remember writing the story. As I read it I smiled thinking that it would make a great book, or at least a good book 😉

So, I put it in with my other manuscripts in the works and went about my day. But as any writer will tell you, the story started to fill my head. I kept going back to the words in the book. Soon the story came back to me and I couldn’t help but to sit down and write a few notes before I forgot them again. Yeah, it’s not fun to get older and lose your memory easily…

For now it’s still in long hand form. I plan to one day put it in my laptop, but it’s just a whim. It will be an interesting change from my normal writing. I will let you in on the story line soon, but for now, let’s just say I’m holding this gem close for a little longer.

Do you have manuscripts that are unfinished, but still in your mind? Have you put them away for another time? Tell me about it and share something from it. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Love, the long road ahead…

Romance. It’s the time honored wish for most women. We read about it in magazines, novels and watch it in the movies. The search takes on a feverish turn as we get older, but do we find that elusive time held romance? Would you say you found that one man that curls your toes and leaves you in awe? Have you found your romance novel love?

Romance is not a myth, it’s real. But unfortunately we’re all so busy living life that we don’t stop to give it a chance. Romance is inside of all of us, but we don’t let it out. Some men are afraid that if they show their romantic side, then it means they’re weak. What they don’t realize is that romantic side is a indication that they’re in full control of their masculinity and know how to make their women happy. To me there’s nothing more masculine than a man that surprises his wife with a rose or just a simple, spine tingling kiss in public.

Romance can be found in so many ways. It just has to be explored, tested. If your relationship is lacking romance, then maybe you’re not trying hard enough. If your marriage has lost some of that honeymoon phase, then try a little romance. Light a candle at dinner, even with the kids at the table. Give him a look that says imagine we’re alone, he will get the message. Even a little note that simple says I Love You slipped in his lunch or wallet can spread a little romance his way.

I know I talk about romance a lot, but what can I say, I love romance. I guess that’s why I write romance. It’s a way I can spread romance to everyone who reads my work. Romance is a wonderfully, loving experience that everyone needs to have. So, as I always say, go out and spread a little romance.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

P.S.: Finding The Right Time made it to Barnes & Noble for preorder. Here’s the link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/finding-the-right-time-stephanie-hurt/1118861344?ean=2940045730792


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Are you using your voice?

Ok, I know that’s a strange question, but hear me out. I’m talking about your author’s voice. That voice that speaks to you and drives you to write. You know that voice, it’s the one that wakes you in the middle of the night, the one that keeps your mind off everything around you, and it’s the one that nudges you to write that next chapter before bedtime. Yeah, you know it. All writers hear it, some ignore it, but you hear it.

But the question is, are you using your voice? Have you listened to others and changed to suit them, but not you? Yes, we need to listen to our critics, but if we totally change our voice aren’t we denying our inner talent. When you write from your heart it shows. When you listen to that voice in your head you use your writer’s voice.

If you change that and don’t listen to your own voice, then where does the story come from. Well, it would have to come from somewhere outside of your head, which means you’re not using your voice. It’s your writer’s voice that makes you the writer. It’s that voice that gives you the stories you write, the emotions, the complexity of characters. So, if you don’t use your own voice, then what next?

Did you know that your voice determines the genre you write in? If your voice leans toward romance, then you write romance, if it leans toward science fiction, then you’ll write science fiction. You get the picture, right? Well, I’ve talked to writer’s that listened to critics and other people and they changed their voice. But it wasn’t a good change, it was a tragic change. Their writing went downhill. Yes, we all need to edit our voice, I mean we’re not perfect in no means, but we don’t need to edit our voice.

I had a reviewer tell me one time that I needed to add some tequila shots to one of my books. She went on to explain that she thought it needed to have more heated love scenes. Well, I’m sorry, but that’s not my voice.  She liked the book, but wanted more steamy sex scenes. My writing voice leans more toward the calmer romance voice. I have no problem with steamier books, but it’s just not my voice. That’s why we have authors that write in that voice. I lean more toward the heart warming romance. But that’s just the way I write. I have many great author friends that write steamy romance and I love their books. They in turn read mine and appreciate it also. We understand that all of us has a different voice.

So, are you following your voice? Are you listening to that inner part of you that makes your writing exclusively yours? Remember to follow your heart and not follow what’s popular now. You never know, you could start a new voice or popular culture. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Character Interview…

Today I’m interviewing the main character from “Finding The Right Time”. She’s a journalist go getter that has a problem. I’ll be talking with her about the issues and how she plans to work through them.

SH: Good morning Lily!

LS: Good morning.

SH: Let’s get right to the problem at hand. The dreams you’ve had since childhood still haunt you. Have you had any luck finding out why those dreams are important?

LS: Actually, now that I’ve moved to Savannah the dreams have come to a head. The house in my dream is the house I’m renting now. Also, the man I’m renting from looks a lot like the man in my dream. 

SH: That’s interesting. I heard you speak of time travel. How does that come into play?

LS: Well, that put me in a tailspin. I’ve been drawn to the cemetery on the land. When I went to the cemetery, something strange came over me. I was transported to 1865 and to the man in my dreams. Rafe is a good man and he loves me.

SH: But aren’t you in love with Anthony, his great great grandson?

LS: (She smiles) Well, that’s part of the problem. It’s as though they are the same man, but I know that can’t be. I’m having a difficult time with this problem. It’s hard when you love two men with all your heart.

SH: That is definitely a problem. Do they know that you love them both?

LS: I’ve made Anthony aware of it, but Rafe refuses to talk about it. How can I be in love with two men from different times?

SH: That’s quite a quandry that you’re in. What’s your plan?

LS: I’m not sure at this point. I love Rafe dearly and also I love Anthony. They’re both wonderful men. I’m drawn to Rafe by unknown forces and that keeps me going back. I pray that I make a decision really soon. 

SH: Well, let’s hope the decision you make helps and you can make peace with it.

LS: Thanks. I do hope the same thing.

SH: Thanks for meeting with me today. 

LS: Thanks for writing me into your novel. I do hope all of your readers enjoy reading about what I do next. It could be a surprise and a pleasant ending or maybe not 🙂

 

I do hope you enjoyed this little interview. The story of Lily’s time travel romance is a many faceted thing. It’s a wonderful love story that brings things that are important to us to the forefront. It’s on preorder now on Smashwords. Check it out.

 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Character lists, organizing them…

As a writer you learn many tricks of the trade. For me I outline almost every book from start to finish. Of course as the story develops so does the outline. One of the most important factors in the writing process is the character list. It helps keep you from renaming a character mid book. Yeah, I did this. *Grinning* Also helps you remember the different aspects of the characters that don’t take forefront in the story.

Of course I didn’t learn this nifty little practice until about 5 books in. It really stinks when you’re in the midst of writing and suddenly you can’t remember what one of the side characters does for a living. I always keep my character outline at the bottom of my screen. It sits there ready for action when I need it. I just pull it up and get the info and bam, I’m back to writing.

The book that I used this the most was ‘Victoria’. She had 5 brothers and they had wives and children too. All of the characters played a part in the story so I had to remember what wife went with what brother. Also, in this one I had a timeline beside me too. I’ll get into that in another blog. But if I didn’t have that list, it would have been a nightmare. 

This outline started out on paper, handwritten, but after I lost it once I put it in my computer so that it was available at a moment’s notice. This also helps with series. That way you can pull from this all the way throughout. You can add new characters and new additions to old characters. It’s a wonderful tool and so easy to set up. 

So, if you’re writing a book and don’t have a character list, then I suggest setting one up. It helps immensely to have a mini bio on your characters. List their likes, dislikes. If your character  has blonde hair, put it down. If they are vegetarian’s thats important to make a note of. Also if they have a scar or disability, definitely worth a mention in the bio. This also helps if you decide to do a question answer session with your characters. These are really fun!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Don’t forget that “Finding the Right Time” is available for Pre Order on Smashwords.com. It should be up this week on Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Apple iTunes. It’s only .99 while on Pre Order, but will go to $3.99 on March 31st when the official release date hits.