Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Monday morning writer’s block!

Good morning everyone! It’s Monday, but it seems like it was Monday just yesterday. Time flies by sometimes faster than you want it to. I’m working on many deadlines; tax returns are due out April 15th and ‘Oakley’ is supposed to release April 15th.

Of course deadline number one is affecting deadline number two… Since it’s tax season and I’m an Accountant I’ve been working really long hours. That of course affects my writing in strange ways. Some days I get back home from the office and can’t write fast enough, but other days like the last couple of days I can’t seem to muster up the energy to put words to paper. This makes me crazy especially when I sit down with laptop ready and nothing… not even a word. There’s on thing I’ve learned as a writer, don’t write when you’re not into it. You usually end up deleting it totally…

Hopefully now that I’m making headway with the huge pile of tax returns on my desk I’ll get back to writing. I made a huge dent in them yesterday. I work best on the weekend when my phone isn’t ringing off the hook. I can turn on the tunes and work without much interruption.

Hope all is well with you and yours.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Is it your opinion or not? Truthfully!

Good Wednesday morning! Hope all is well with all of you. As for me I’m a little perplexed to say the least. Being a writer I use social media to advertise and promote my work. I’ve grown a tough skin over the last couple of years regarding the remarks that can be scathing and my opinion is it’s your opinion, or is it?

You may be wondering why I say it that way, well here goes. I was scanning Facebook last night and came across several really scathing posts regarding someone local. The bad thing is it all started from one side and it wasn’t pretty. It actually put a bad taste in my mouth regarding social media etiquette. Should you comment on a post that you’re not personally familiar with? It would be like posting a review of someone’s book without ever reading the book, just going with the flow of what others say. Is it right to do that?

Why is it that in today’s world we follow the leader and don’t go with our own hearts? We jump on the social media band wagon and destroy someone without knowing the facts. The problem with this is that every story has two sides. When we don’t know the whole story we shouldn’t push forward. It’s called everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty, it’s the American way, or have we steered away from that? As I sat and glanced over some of the comments I was amazed at the audacity of some of them. The pitchforks were raised and the witch hunt was started. Does anyone remember the ramifications of the witch hunts? Yeah, that’s what I’m saying, get both sides before you share or comment because someone’s life is at stake and many times these types of things affect more than just the person that you’re directing your anger toward. Think about all those that can be affected in the background.

I’ve written many posts regarding reviews, the good and bad. If you put yourself out there, you’re setting yourself up for people to throw darts or compliments at you. Have you ever noticed that if you get a good review, other reviews similar start appearing, but also goes with bad reviews. I’ve received some really great reviews and I’m eternally thankful. Of course I’ve received some nasty reviews, but I always use the ones that are done in taste as a learning experience. I actually followed one critical review with a rewrite. The rewrite actually went to the top 10 on Amazon charts for several weeks. It was a good review in my eyes. But then you have those that see a bad, scathing review and they suddenly want to add to it. The funny thing is, well actually it’s sad, a couple of bad reviews I’ve received were obviously not from an actual reader. They even got the story wrong in the review. It’s the same with the witch hunt’s that span across social media.

Should we learn social media etiquette? I think we should use tact when sharing or commenting. Can you imagine a social media without all the negative thoughts? I’ve seen more and more people stating this on social media. They want to see the negativity brought down a little. Of course some negative posts are beneficial if handled correctly, not just for the benefit of someones ego, but full of facts.  It would make for better reading in the early morning as I sip my coffee, but of course this is my opinion, possibly not yours.

What are your thoughts on social media etiquette? Would you enjoy a nicer experience?

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…


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Problem? No, just a writer…

Have you ever been caught staring at someone? Come on, you know you have. I’m a people watcher. It’s part of being a writer. I’ve been sitting in a crowded room before and noticed someone doing something out of sync with everyone else. Of course then my overactive imagination stitches a story regarding why they’re acting different.

I’ve actually written stories based on people watching. It’s really fun to sit back and watch a couple in love. You wonder what their story is and then you piece it together with your own spin. Maybe they met by chance or have been friends for years and turned the tables. What’s really fun is you don’t know their true story, but your imagination can expand on what the eye sees. If they’re holding hands and giving those cute lovey looks, you can expand on the romance side of the story. Maybe they’re newlyweds or just newly dating. It’s up to your imagination.

I love to watch people in love. Guess that’s why I love weddings. A wedding can fill many pages of your mind. Most of the time I know the person getting married, but I’ve attended weddings where I’m not too familiar with the couple. I can sit and imagine their love story, the engagement and the romance. It’s fascinating really.

So yes, I have a problem, but it’s for a good cause 😉

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Do you feel the luck of the Irish?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all! Can you find the 4 leaf clover in this picture?

clover

How many of you have rummaged through a bed of clover looking for the 4 leaf clover? I’ve done this many times and found some, but mostly I found green stains on my knees and hands 😉 The back yard at our Church is covered in clover and the children scavenge through it constantly looking for the hidden treasure in the millions of little clovers. It’s fun to watch their enthusiasm as they try their best to find good luck, but do you get it if you find it? I don’t know, but it’s fun to try…

Sometimes I think publishing a book is like a clover field. There are so many authors out there publishing and trying the same as you. Will you be found in the clover field? Will someone pluck you from the field and give you the luck of the Irish? It’s the gamble we take every time we hit the PUBLISH button. But it’s worth it.

For me I feel as though my luck was found the moment I typed the first word and finished the first book. It’s been such a wonderful experience but I do hope to one day be pulled out of the crowd and maybe have some luck of the Irish thrown at me, but until then I’ll keep publishing and joining the crowd. At least I’m in good company among my fellow authors.

By the way, don’t forget to wear something green today unless you want to be pinched, then don’t wear any green. And yes, there are still those that keep up the tradition and I’ve carried the bruises many times to prove it…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

P.S. Oakley is Coming!

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It’s time to write, now what…

keyboard

It’s time to write! What tools do you use to set up and get ready? Do you have a writing ritual? Well here’s a little look into my writing tools and what I need to write.

When I sit down to write I do it in a couple of ways.

Writing in the tub:

If I’m in the mood for a warm, lavender scented bath and want to write I grab my trusty pen and pad, well that used to be the norm, but now I grab my phone and use a dictation app, then download to my computer. It’s a great way to relax and write at the same time. But I suggest you let anyone in the house know what you’re doing. My son thought I was talking to myself.

Writing on the go:

What if you’re in the car waiting in line or maybe waiting on your child to get out of school, well use that time to write. I keep a pad and pen in my purse for just that moment. Now I use my dictation app on my phone, but usually in this situation I use my writing pad because people look at me strangely if I’m talking and there’s no response.

Writing in my writer zone:

Ok, when I’m in my normal writing zone which is the corner of my comfy couch, I usually have my laptop in my lap. But since I downloaded my phone app, some days I dictate then edit, but when I’m in the writing zone, you know the one, where I’m totally into what I’m doing, I love to feel the keys under my finger tips. I also have a large spiral notebook and pencil within reach for character changes and notes. If you don’t do this, then I suggest you start. It helps keep the facts straight.

Beverage of choice:

As any writer will tell you it’s imperative that you have a cup of something within reach. I usually have either coffee or warm flavored tea handy. If I’m writing in the early morning hours I have coffee, but for the afternoon writing I grab herbal tea. It’s just a good way to stay focused.

Music:

Some writers say they can’t write with noise around them, but some days if I’m writing a pivotal part of the story I need music. If it’s a sad part, then I play something somber, but if it’s a dramatic part, well I play something to go with that. Sometimes music inspires me to go in a different direction than maybe I’d planned. The sounds not the words inspire me.

Well, that’s a little bit of how I write and what I use as far as the tools. I’m working on a post for later regarding the programs that I use in designing and writing my books. Since I own a publishing service now I’ve expanded that list. So be on the look out for that post.

Don’t forget that all of March weekdays I’m offering a sale on my website of my paperbacks. Go over to stephaniehurtauthor.com and check out today’s savings. Also, Oakley is coming soon, so if you haven’t read Ridge yet, there’s still some time to get into the Five Oaks Ranch series and meet the Cauthen clan.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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As the fog clears

sunrise

This is the view from my front porch this morning. The temperatures have finally warmed up and the threat of rain looms, but you can’t tell by the gorgeous sunrise. The fog is starting to clear and is barely visible in this photo. I feel inspired as the vibrant colors stream through the front windows.

As most of you know from reading my posts I try to get in my word count every morning. This morning as I woke at 6:00 my body and brain felt heavy and filled with inspiration zapping fog. I dragged myself out of bed and fixed breakfast for my son. As I poured the coffee and the delicious aroma steamed up to my nose I smiled. Yes, I need several cups of coffee. Since the time changed the sun comes up later and that always makes it hard for me to wake up. But one look at this beautiful sunrise I feel inspired to get to work. I can do this is the feeling it inspires.

Does a beautiful sunrise inspire you? As for me, I’m off to get in a couple thousand words before a warm shower and then on to the accounting office. I may need that third cup of coffee while I type…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Monday and the rain begins…

As we slowly transition into Spring the rain starts. Here in Georgia we’re looking at rain until Sunday. Of course it’s better than ice, but it’ll make a long, dreary week. In the back of my mind I wonder in the threat of cold weather is gone or if this is just a tease. At least we had a gorgeous weekend which helps with this dreary Monday.

The clocks moved forward this weekend and hopefully you changed yours, if not you might be late for work, just sayin’. It always throws my body into a crazy frenzy when the time changes. I feel tired and sleepy, but am trying to meet my word count goals this morning. For those that have been asking what I’m working on, well it’s Oakley. This book is really fun to write. It’s been humming along nicely. I’ve received so many nice emails and calls about fans enjoying Ridge and I know you’ll enjoy Oakley. This series is beginning to become one of my favorites. I’ll be releasing some snippets before the release date is revealed.

Now, back to the lousy weather this Monday morning. How does the weather affect your writing? Do you write better when it’s snowing and cold, wet and miserable or sunny and delightful? As for me it’s a toss up. I love to sit by the fire when it’s cold and write, but on sunny, warm days it’s nice to sit outside and write. But I do have to say that sometimes the rain puts me in a blah mood, but sometimes it gives me the right mood to write.

Hope everyone has a great Monday and don’t forget to scoot over to my website to see what the March Madness Sale for the day is… stephaniehurtauthor.com.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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The story, do you know how it end?

Good Friday morning! I’ve been working long hours in my accounting office. Of course that’s expected during tax season. But the funny thing about this job is I know the main tax season will end on April 15th. I have a good idea after almost 20 years of how it will go, but with writing do you always know how it will go? Well, not always.

Many of my books came into my head mostly whole, but not always. Even some that come to me feeling whole turn out different in many ways as the stories unfold on paper. Take for instance my latest release, Ridge. In the back of my mind I had a clear vision of how it would go. I could see it unfolding before I ever type Chapter 1. But with some of my other books I wasn’t completely positive.

Safe in the Pirate’s Arms was one of those that I thought I had it completely figured out before I started, but the characters took over and many things changed. Sometimes we know where we want the story to go, but once you’re into the story it just doesn’t work. As with the book in question, I knew after I started in the planned direction that something wasn’t quite right. Something needed to change and once I changed directions of the story, well it just clicked. Usually when you have that ‘aha’ moment things started moving right along at a fast clip, well at least for me it does.

One of my manuscripts took such a sharp U-turn that I went back and changed some of the aspects of the beginning. But when I typed the end it totally made sense. I was proud of the changes that I made. It felt good and made me feel complete. I know that many of you have read my many posts on outlines and I do truly believe in them, but some of the time even the best outline needs to change slightly.

Is it mandatory as a writer to know the whole story? No way are we held to that standard, but we do have to make sure the story flows correctly. Of course we do have to know some of where the story will go, but the whole story, not happening most of the time, even when we think we know the end, it’s not always clear.

So, do you always know how it will end, truly? What’s your writing process? Do you outline and if so, do you stick strictly with it?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Don’t forget to go by my website and check out my March Madness Sale at stephaniehurtauthor.com


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Not perfect, well it’s the first draft…

First off, let me get this out there. My March Madness Sale is ongoing on my website. Today is Slide3

SO go by my website and get 20% off my paperbacks. Everyday is a different deal and some days are a mystery amount that includes a mystery gift…

Well, on to today’s soapbox drama… How’s your first draft look? If it’s perfect then you put too much work into it. I know, you’re looking at the screen and thinking I’m crazy, well you’re half right. Your first draft should be just that, your first draft. This is where you get the story down in words, not the perfect, ready for publishing manuscript. That’s why it’s called the first draft.

My first draft’s always look like a murder scene after I get through with them. They’re grammatically horrible and so out of sorts. This is where I throw everything I have at the keyboard and pay no attention to the details of spelling and paragraph breaks. Especially when I use my dictation program on my phone.

I sat the other night in a warm bath with my favorite lavender/ chamomile bath salts. A idea for my current work in process came into my mind, so I grabbed my phone and started dictating the idea. The next morning when I downloaded it into my draft document I laughed until I cried. It was horrible. If you’ve ever worked with a dictation program then you know what I mean. Many times I was so caught up in the story that I forgot to say ‘new paragraph’ or ‘open quote, end quote’. It was plain out pitiful.

It took me a few minutes to clear up the mess. Yes I do go ahead and clean the downloads from the dictation program so that I understand what the heck I was saying. I’ve actually deleted several paragraphs of my first drafts and that’s painful, but needed. Some days I get to about 3/4 of the way done and realize I don’t like where my first draft is headed, so I change the direction.

I do recommend editing your first draft before you send it to your editor. If your first drafts are like mine then it’s a must because my editor would put it back on my desk and say ‘what?’.

So how’s your first draft look when you hit the end?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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March Madness Sale!

Every week day in March my sight will be having a different sale!

stephaniehurtauthor.com

Don’t miss out on these deals!

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