Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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If your story falls apart, use duct tape?

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 you’re 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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Live Life; Follow Your Dreams…

Today I turn 46! Wow, it’s hard to believe I’m almost half a century old. But I don’t feel 46 and I sure don’t act it. Actually most people say I act 10 but that’s another story for another day. I live life and enjoy it immensely. We’re only give one so live it. Many people tell me I don’t get out and do things enough, but the truth is I live my life the way I love to live it, by following my dreams. No I don’t go alot of places and do a lot of things outside of my job, my writing, the Church and my family, but that’s the way I like it. Am I a hermit? No, because the definition of a hermit is someone who lives their lives in complete seclusion from the outside world. I do leave my house occasionally.

How do I follow my dreams? Well for one thing I have a phenomenal life with a great family and wonderful friends. I follow my call to serve my Lord, Jesus Christ by ministering to children, I love Accounting and get to work everyday doing just that and then there’s my writing. I followed my dream and get to write romance novels which has been my dream for more years than I want to count. Do you live your dream? If not, get to it, because we’re not promised tomorrow and today is only 24 hours.

As far as acting my age, not a chance. I don’t feel my age so why act it. If you act your age you’ll get old before you need to. I love to giggle, cry, laugh out loud, share my joy, sit in the floor with the children and sing, cartoons, children’s movies, and so many more things, not to mention extra marshmallows in my hot chocolate. Oh and sprinkles on my cookies, doughnuts, and cake, did I mention I love sweets!

Do you live life to the fullest? It doesn’t take a lot of money to live life. All you need is a dream, a desire to follow it and a supportive family. I stop and smell the roses, do you?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Wrap up a Pirate for someone…

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Good morning all! It’s Tuesday and it’s cold here in Georgia. As I snuggle under my throw with my coffee at my side and the fire crackling I have to smile. It’s cozy and warm with Christmas cheer in my den. I love this time of year. The Christmas tree is twinkling beside me as though it’s saying Merry Christmas Stephanie!

As for presents, are you finished with your shopping? Me, well, almost, but I still have a couple of things to pick up. If you need a stocking filler or a gift for a reader, why not check out Safe in the Pirate’s Arms. It’s an adventurous love story with suspense, romance and pirates. Several readers have commented that they felt like they were on board the ship as I described every detail. I want my readers to experience the book, not just read them.

Here’s a little tidbit and then some links to buy:

Lightning streaked across the clouds just ahead of them. Caleb widened his stance and prepared for the battle with the storm. He’d been through worse.

The first drops of rain caused the men to move faster. All of the cargo had to be tied down. Serena helped by handing out coiled rope to the men. She never thought about the rain causing her clothing to cling to her body.

Caleb looked down to check the progress of the men when he noticed the boys clothing was wet. Then he did a double take. That wasn’t a boy at all, but a woman. A chill ran down his spine as he realized they had a major problem. Tom saw Caleb’s expression and followed his gaze. He swore when he saw what Caleb did. Caleb motioned for him to take the wheel.

He quickly made his way to where the woman stood handing out rope. Luckily the men were so busy that they didn’t notice. He spun her around and their eyes collided. “You need to get to your quarters.” When she just stood there he looked down at her soaked clothing. “Now!” He barked.

She looked down and saw the problem. It only took her moments to cover herself and run to her cabin. Caleb was on her heels. The look in his eyes was murderous and she knew it wasn’t going to be good.

As she opened the door and turned to shut it, he stopped it with his hand and followed her in. Then he slammed the door, leaving them alone in the small cabin. He made the cabin seem even smaller.

“What in the world were thinking? A woman on a ship with a bunch of men is dangerous and foolish.” He ran his fingers through his wet hair in exasperation.

“I was desperate.” She said in a small feminine voice.

His head snapped up in recognition. Reaching out he snatched the hat off her head causing her dark hair to tumble down around her shoulders. He grunted with frustration.  “Serena!”

She looked up at him and blushed. He turned around and grabbed the blanket off the bed. “Cover yourself.” He was a good man, but even he had his limits. “Why’d you stow away on my ship?”

Suddenly she burst into tears and sat down on the little cot. “I didn’t have anywhere else to go.” She started to openly sob.

He’d never been really good with women’s emotions. He sat down on the cot beside her and lifted her chin to look up at him. “What happened?”

“After you left last night, my mother died.” She sniffed and tried to get her composure. “Then I overheard my stepfather telling a man that he was going to end your trip and get you back for taking his shipments. He said he’d watch The Lady go to the bottom of the sea.”

He sat there for a moment. It was evident when he’d been at Edwards home that something was wrong. The man seemed crooked. It angered him that the man was part of the pirate’s that he fought against.

“My mother’s last words were that I needed to leave before my stepfather came upstairs. She said I was in danger. So I packed a bag and made my way down to the docks and then onto your ship.” She looked up at him pleadingly. “Please let me stay on the ship. I’ll work for my room and food. I won’t let anyone know I’m not Toby.”

Standing up quickly he looked down at her. He could only imagine why her mother was worried. That man was pure evil and he was glad she’d gotten away, but a woman on a pirate ship, even though his men were all good men, they were men.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Monday Thoughts and Writing…

Good Monday morning to you all… I hope you had a wonderful weekend. As for me it was a busy one. Saturday I spent the day at the Church decorating for Christmas with friends and then Sunday was the Children’s Ministry Christmas party. Let’s just say it was busy but satisfying. I’m pleasantly tired this morning…

As for my writing, I’ve grabbed a few minutes here and there this weekend to work on Ridge, but not as much as I would’ve liked. Ridge has been prodding my brain all weekend wanting his story told. For those of you that have messaged me about the upcoming release, let’s just say I’m working on a specific date, but as of now no release date yet. I’m thrilled that others are as excited as I am to have Ridge’s story published. It’s turning out to be quite a story and I can’t wait for you to read it.

Make sure you go to my website and enter the Rafflecopter to win a audiobook copy of Faith Through The Tears. Enter everyday if you want to. The response to this story has been really wonderful. On Audible.com I’ve had so many beautifully sweet reviews and some made me cry. This story tore at my heart one moment and made me giggle the next. One woman wrote to me and said that I should give away a box of tissues with every copy.

What are you doing on this fine Monday morning?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Writing in layers, like our lives…

As I sit and ponder writing, life and the many things we do, I see the layers of it all. Layers are all around us. We have the family layer, life layer, work layer, faith layer and so many more layers it’s crazy. As writers we have even more layers than most.

Some days my layers overlap and I have to push them apart so that I don’t get overloaded. Some layers are heavier than others but in the end they’re what makes us who we are. My writer layers come in multiples, sometimes when my writer layers overlap I get knocked to the wayside. That’s when my mind can’t stay on one story and the characters start running over one another.

Do my layers of life and writing run into one another? Yes they do. I’ve seen many days when I struggled with the writing layers, but that’s what makes a writer work harder. As the characters run around trying to get heard, I wrangle them into the stories that flow out of my fingers. The layers of a story unfold and then a new layer starts. Oh the life of a writer’s mind.

How many layers do you have? If you peel them back carefully can you find your true self. As for me, when I peeled back my writer layer I found myself. I hadn’t realized that I needed that layer peeled back. For many years I left that layer piled under so many life layers and once I revealed it I started a fresh start. My writer layer has brought me into a new world of wonder and other worlds.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Wednesday Inspirations…

As I sit here sipping my coffee and looking at the twinkling Christmas tree I’m inspired to write. This is the time of day that I sit and write. The hubby is off to work and my son off to school. I have a little time to contemplate my newest WIP and work on edits, not to mention blog posts and social media catch-up.

This morning I’m working on Ridge. I’m already madly in love with him and his ornery ways. He’s pulled at my heart strings for weeks because he’s such a deep person with real problems. I can’t wait for all of you to fall in love with him. It won’t be hard and then of course he has three brothers and a sister that will pull you into their lives. Since I love cowboy romance it’s nice to be back to writing what I really love.

Unfortunately my brain is already wanting to write another Christmas romance, but no I refuse to jump into the frying pan. I just hope I can keep it all at bay for a little while. I do have something in the works for release before Christmas, but we’ll see how that goes.

What are you working on today?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Finding your writing niche…

Good Tuesday morning! Hope all is well in your corner of the big world. Have you ever thought about changing up your writing style or even the genre you write in? Many authors do this with a lot of success, some not so much. Let’s talk about the in’s and out’s of changing things up.

To get things started let’s say you’re a romance writer. Well, the romance genre is a widespread market going from the sweet innocent romance to the hardcore erotic style. Some writers just have the knack to write certain types of romance and when they try to go up the pole or even down they don’t seem to excel. But maybe you’re not doing well in the category you write in, what next? Try something new? Maybe…

I’ve talked to several authors that have tried many writing niches. Many authors go from romance to mystery without missing a beat, but others struggle with the change. One author changed her romance writing niche. She normally writes paranormal romance which is racy and at times dark, but then she tried a romantic comedy. It was a hit. But of course she’s known for her paranormal romances, what does she do? Well, she dabbles with both now. I’ve read both by her and have to say they’re great. It was a great transition.

Another author friend tried to step out of writing mysteries to try writing romance. Let’s just say she struggled. She told me that writing mysteries just coming easily, but trying to write a romance novel gave her a headache. I suggested just writing a mystery which is what she does best and sprinkle in some romance. Well, she’s doing that and it seems to work.

As for me, I’ve been writing romance for a long time. I’ve tried Christian Romance, Time Travel Romance, Cowboy Romance, and several others, but they’re all in the romance genre. But, I just published my first children’s Christmas book and I have to say it was fun. Now I’m working on a children’s series and it’s challenging. By no means am I leaving romance writing, I’m just venturing out a little.

So, what’s your writing niche and could you change if you tried?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…