Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Coming out of the fog!

This has been one of those weeks where you want to go back, hit rewind and have a do over!  Unfortunately, I caught the cold crud that’s been going around and have been in a fog since. Finally last night I was able to get more than a couple hours of sleep, which gave me a better morning.

When you’re a writer and in a brain fog, no words come out. It’s like they’re lost in the fog and no matter how hard you try, nothing comes out. Of course this hurt my daily word count, but believe me, if I would’ve written anything, especially in the last two days, it would have been unreadable.

Hopefully today will be a more productive day and I’ll soon be back to normal. Feeling a little more energy today, but the extra sleep helped.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Don’t forget to get your copy of “Seaside Beginnings” on pre-order! It’s officially releasing on February 17th…

 

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Encouraged, not discouraged…

Good Monday morning! Hope all is well with you and hope my northeastern friends are warm and safe. We received a little dusting of snow here in my part of Georgia Saturday morning, but by lunch it was all gone. But it was nice to watch the flakes float down from the sky. Snow falling always soothes me and sets me for a great mood, but since I’m fighting a cold, I didn’t go outside to catch a snowflake, I stayed by the fire.

Now to my post, well, as most of you know I submitted my book Tuscany to Harlequin. After a wait, which I thought would be worse on my nerves, but for some reason wasn’t, I received a response. Of course it’s not the one I wanted, but as a writer, it’s part of the process.

Yes, they sent one of their really nice rejection letters. Of course I could’ve sat down and cried, gave up on writing or just shredded the manuscript, never to let it see the light of day again. But that’s not the way I do things. I saw it as encouragement, not discouragement. Why? Well, let me enlighten you.

The letter gave me some things that they thought I should change and some great advice on picking the particular genre of theirs that I submit to. To me, this was a great letter, not a devastating blow, as some writers say. It encouraged me to step up the game on Tuscany and delve into some deep edits. Of course some of the things they mentioned aren’t drastic changes, just some twists to the story, which I really like.

You might be saying, ‘she can’t be taking this that well’, but I’m a writer, this happens and I still have the fact that Tuscany made it to the top 55 of the contest with Harlequin, so I know it has possibilities. In my opinion, this is like getting a critique from some of the best editors in the business. So what some think of as a loss, I find interesting and plan to do what they said.

So, have you received a rejection letter before? How did you deal with it? Did you make the changes and resubmit?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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Introvert, yes or no?

Good Monday morning everyone! Can you believe the weekend is over? Of course, today is a holiday for many, but sadly, if you’re an Accountant or Tax Preparer, well, you’re hard at work. Of course, I’m on holiday in my mind, which brings me to the point of this post.

Are you an introvert? The Huff Post did an interesting article recently with several points to think about. As I went over each one of them, I got the confirmation, I’m legit. I have almost all of the symptoms, but that’s alright. It’s not like I’m crazy or anything, well, let’s just say I’m not ready for the straight jacket, not yet.

I don’t go out a lot, which is alright with me. Actually, my husband is the same way, which works really well. I’m perfectly content, sitting at night by the fire, writing. I slip into the world of my characters and don’t need the world outside the house. Many worry about me, saying I need to get out, that it’s not normal to be content staying home. But, that’s me. Others have to have the outside world to feel normal or find happiness. I don’t and that confuses people.

As most writers can tell you, we see more of the world in our writing than most see in their lifetime. Just last Summer, I went to Tuscany in my writing world. It wasn’t crowded and had no lines to wait in. I got to experience it through the eyes of my characters and it was wonderful. Let’s just say, I had a craving for Italian food while writing this one.

Just because I enjoy the solitude of my home, doesn’t mean I’m antisocial. I’m with people a good bit of the time. I don’t avoid business meetings, Church, family get together’s or anything like that. I just don’t need to go out, just to go out. I’ve made my home a place where I’m completely content spending my free time. It’s beautiful and feels me with happiness to just sit and enjoy life. By the way, I do enjoy life to the fullest and don’t feel like I’mo missing out on anything, no matter what anyone says. I love my life!

So, are you an introvert? If you’re a writer, then 9 times out of 10 you are. Embrace it!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-real-reason-introverts-dread-small-talk_56854922e4b06fa688823798?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

 


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Christian Romance Writers

It’s Friday, finally. Good morning! Here in Georgia, it’s rainy and windy, but it’s Friday, so that’s good.

I’m a writer of romance, many genres, but my favorite is the Christian or wholesome genre. Several authors have messaged me before, asking how I write a wholesome romance and still have romance in it. Well, that’s easy, romance isn’t just about the intimate parts of a relationship. It’s the little things that you do. Romance can be a kiss, a touch, a look, or even a candlelit dinner. Maybe it’s just sitting by the fire quietly after a hard day at work.

Faith is a big part of my Christian series, “Lean on Him”. I wanted to integrate the needs of today’s Christian and add some romance along the way. The deep relationship that my characters have with one another and with Christ make these heartwarming. But they have their own set of problems along the way. Nobody has a perfect life here on earth, no matter how much you want to. We all have tragedy happen, mourning of a lost loved one, and mental issues that bring us closer or tear us apart, but it’s our faith that brings us through to the light. It’s all in how you handle it.

So, do you or have you ever read a Christian romance? I’ve been hooked on Amish Christian romance series lately. They’re interesting and leave you feeling good, which is the goal of a writer, right? Right!

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…

By the way, if you get a chance, go by faithfulreads.com and check out my book that spotlighted with some great Christian writers today!

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Writing Courses…

Ok, I know we’re busy writing the next big one, but have you considered taking a writing course. For the last six or more months, I’ve been taking a couple here and there. It’s been really enlightening. Actually, a couple of them made me rethink a couple of my works in progress to the point I rewrote several scenes.

What kind of courses, you ask? Well, I’ve taken one on Facebook advertising which was very helpful. Maybe you’re thinking, well that is too easy to need a course on, but no my friend, there’s a whole world of ways you can do your ad. I was amazed at the things I didn’t do with some of my former ads.

Then, of course, the marketing courses I listened to. I’ve been going about my marketing in the wrong direction. Who knew? Not me! Lately, I’ve been using some of the concepts I learned, like tags on my books, rewriting my blurbs, how I send out tweets and what I send out. Incredibly I’m seeing a positive upturn.

Then comes  the writing courses. These will make you sit up and think. I’ve learned so many ways to make my individual voice stand out. It’s amazing what you can learn about not using adverbs and how best to use commas. Yep, guilty as charged. Some of the writing techniques I learned from bestselling authors has made my daily writing so much more productive.

So, have you tried a writing course lately? All of the one’s I’ve sat through online were free and by bestselling authors. As with many things today, some of them only give you an introduction, then want money for the more advanced courses. I’ve used what I learned from the introductions and put them to good use.

As always Great Writing and May God Bless You!


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A Character’s Character…

Good Tuesday morning! It’s still cold here in Georgia, but it’s January so it’ll feel like Spring by the end of the week, then back to Winter within a couple of days. That’s just the fun of living in the south.

A character in your book has many dimensions, or I should say, must have many dimensions. If your characters are only one dimensional, then what will the draw be? Let’s take, for instance, my Five Oaks Ranch characters. Each has their own personality, but inside each personality, they have many, many dimensions.

I’ll pull out the oldest brother, Ridge, for example. He’s a very complex man with many facets. One the one hand, he’s a loving brother, caring deeply for his family. Then he’s the hardened soldier that’s had two tours in Iraq, which has him edgier than he was before the war. Ridge was always the toughest of the five Cauthen’s, but now he’s withdrawn.

But, once he meets the woman of his dreams, he’s softened to a teddy bear. Although he fights it all the way, in the end, he gives up and lets his heart lead him. SO, let’s list his character traits, he’s a family man, hard-edged soldier, hopeless romantic want to be, not to mention that he loves deeply and forever.

Would he have been a great character if he’d just been a hard-edged soldier and nothing else? Maybe, but most probably not. He needed the extra facets to pull the reader in and to keep the reader guessing. Only one facet and the reader would lose control within a couple of chapters.

So, do your characters have character?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Cold Monday, warm writing…

First off this morning, I want to express my sadness at the loss of David Bowie. Since I’m over 40, his music filled my radio during my teen years. He was an amazing singer and will be missed.

Ok, on to today’s post. It’s really cold here in Georgia. My outside thermometer is registering 20. Burrrrrr!!!. Thanks to my hubby, I have a warm fire to write by and extra wood. It’s nice and cozy as I sit and write this, but just a look outside and it’s frigid.

At least, I have something warm to write. As you know I’m finishing my over 40 romance, “Seaside Beginnings” and since it’s set on a beach in Tybee Island, Georgia, my mind is convinced I’m on the beach. So, right now I’m sinking my toes into the warm sand and listening to the waves caress the beach, or so my mind thinks.

Here’s a little snippet of the book, hope you like it! Just a note about this part of the book, Maddy and Caden are remodeling the bed and breakfast. Do take into mind, this is from the first draft, so no editing yet!

Maddy looked up at the wallpaper and figured that would be a good place to start. She grabbed her punch roller and the fabric softener she’d put in a spray bottle. The paper came off fairly easy at first, then when she got to the higher sections, she had to use the ladder that Caden had brought inside when he first arrived.
She hooked the spray bottle on her belt loop and climbed the ladder. Whistling a happy tune as she worked, not realizing how far out she was leaning until hands wrapped around her waist, lifting her from the ladder.
“Do I have to watch you every minute? Don’t you realize how dangerous it is leaning out that far from the ladder?” His hands were still on her waist, but neither noticed as he continued to argue with her. “You could’ve fallen from the top and broke every bone in your body, or worse.”
“I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention.” Her gaze went to his bare chest, they were too close for her comfort. She pushed his hands off her and turned to grab her bottle of water from the step beside them. Getting her mind off him was the best thing she could do right now. The moment he lifted her off the ladder and brought her close to him, everything in her mind shifted. It had been a long time since she’d felt that way.
“Just try to be more careful.” He shook his head as he walked back out to finish replacing the boards on the porch. When he’d seen her reaching out, the ladder tilting, he lost a couple years off his life. He knew that a couple of extra gray hairs had popped out. What was he going to do with her? Then thinking better of that line of thinking, he went back to work, because that had been on his mind for a couple of days. He thought about her more than normal and deep down his heart told him something wonderful was budding out.
Maddy thought about how he’d continued to hold her, even when the danger had passed. Something inside of her jumped at the feelings that came to mind, but she quickly pushed them away. This was not the time to be thinking in that way. Too much needed to be done and complications would only hinder them. Shrugging, she moved the ladder over and continued to remove the wallpaper.
Caden came back in to check on her. She was unaware of his presence and dropped a wet piece of old wallpaper on his head. “Hey, Hey.”
Maddy looked down to see him struggling to get the large piece of paper off his head. She giggled and covered her mouth to suppress the laugh that bubbled up.
“Oops, sorry.” She tried to look sorry, but the laugh came out instead.
He put his hand in the sticky mess that covered his hair. “Well, that’s nice. Do you have any towels handy?”
She climbed down and walked into the kitchen where she’d placed several towels to use for cleaning. “Here, lean over the sink and I’ll help you wash it out.”
“That’s alright, I’ll just use the hose out front.” He grabbed the towel and left. All he needed was her running her fingers through his hair.
She giggled again as he walked out the door. The rest of the day they worked in separate areas of the house. By the time they left just before dark, a good start had been made.

I’m enjoying the banter between Maddy and Caden. It’s been a fresh, new way of writing for me. Although I miss my cowboys and horses, I’ll go back to that soon, but for now, I’m a beach bum 😉

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Don’t forget “Seaside Beginnings” is up for preorder at most  ebook retailers!

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