Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Time? Who has Time?

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Time… it flies by without stopping… never ceasing. So how do we fit it all in? I’m often asked how I fit writing into my busy schedule with running my accounting office, being a wife and mom, being a children’s minister, life, reading, researching, among other things that fill my days. Well, some days it’s not easy.

How do I keep up with my word count and publish on time? I have a schedule of word counts, but that doesn’t mean that I make that count every day. Some days I don’t even type a word, but guess what, that just builds it up to the next day and so on… My daily word counts during tax season are low, but they add up quickly when I don’t meet my daily count.

So, how do you stretch your time? How do you fit it all in? I have some advice on that very subject. This is advice that I ignored years ago, but now I take it very seriously. Make a schedule and a list of what needs to be done daily. That seems easy, huh, but it’s not on most days. So what do I mean?

Here’s how I schedule my week. Sit down on Sunday afternoon and look at the week ahead. Look at meetings on the calendar, work that needs to be completed, deadlines, and anything else that comes into the week. Then prioritize the items that don’t have a specific set time, like meetings.

With tax returns and accounting, I look at deadlines for the week first, don’t forget to look ahead to the deadlines for the next week too. Then I sit down at my desk and make a list for each day. I number each task, start with the most important daily task, then work my way down. I know how many tax returns I can do a day, then I separate them and bind together each day’s work. That way I accomplish what I need to accomplish and meet my deadlines. But remember, if it’s not important to finish this week, don’t waste valuable time trying to fit it in. Put it on the next week’s schedule. That way you’re only accomplishing this week’s needs.

What about writing? This is where it gets tricky. If my day is filled with appointments and I have to work later than usual, well, my writing time suffers. I use the time after my hubby and son leave for work and school. I sit down with my coffee and write. If I’m behind on my count, well no blog that day and I don’t check social media until I’ve caught up on the count. That’s hard to do. A couple of days this week, I wrote when I came in for lunch. That helped too. (But now I need to clean the crumbs from my keyboard!) Also, I make my Saturday word count higher than my weekday, but only when I’m behind.

I know, you’re sitting back going, wow, she’s so organized, but don’t get the wrong idea. My life is always disorganized in one way or another. Like last night, I wanted to write at least 1000 words, but my brain just wouldn’t cooperate, so I read for an hour, which helped my brain to calm a little, but then it was time to go to bed, so I have an extra 1000 words to add to today. By the way, I need to get back to the writing.

How do you stretch your time? Don’t forget to schedule in some ‘me time’. It’s important to your sanity…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

A little note, Ridge is finally free on Amazon! http://www.amazon.com/Ridge-Five-Oaks-Ranch-Book-ebook/dp/B00TFOPOFI


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Word Counts, Outlines and Covers…

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Good Friday morning! It’s been a busy week and it will only get busier. Tax season is in full swing and my calendar is getting full, but that’s a good thing. I included a nice, warm picture for all of you caught in the polar vortex and to those of us that just want to walk down that dock and plunge into the water, washing the everyday stress away. AHHHH… As as writer I can imagine it…

I’m often asked how I keep up with my word counts during tax season. To be honest, it can be really hard, but I manage somehow. As you know, I do an outline for each book. With each line of the outline, I try to do a certain amount of words, according to the final length of the book that I have in mind. The outline keeps me focused while my mind is scattered with thoughts of tax returns, numbers and deadlines, both book and tax.

Of course and I’ve said this often, writing is how I stay sane when it’s busy. Writing takes the stress out of my mind and takes me to another place, sometimes another time. When I’m finishing my work day, thoughts of putting words into a manuscript fill me and make the stress start slipping away.

Right now I have a rather high word count daily, but it’s supposed to be less. I originally had figured into my daily writing for tax season, only 2000 words a day. If I do more then good for me, if I do less, well, that has to be carried over to the weekend writing sprint. With my brain going over so much paperwork during the day, sometimes I just have to do something creative, other than with words. That’s when I start

With my brain going over so much paperwork during the day, sometimes I just have to do something creative, other than with words. That’s when I start working on covers for upcoming releases and preorder releases. Here lately, I’ve been struggling with the cover for a historical romance that’s coming out at the end of April. But it will come to me soon, just right now, it’s giving me the hiccups 😉

How’s your week been? Have you kept up with your word count? (I’ll catch up on mine over the weekend, I hope!)

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Just a little note… Seaside Beginnings came out Wednesday and it’s been a great success. I’ve received some of the sweetest messages about it. I’m so excited and awestruck at the response for this book about an over forty woman starting over.


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Seaside Beginnings Today!

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Well, Seaside Beginnings released today. This has been coming for a while and with its release today, I’m feeling really excited. If you haven’t picked up your copy, then grab it before the weekend when the price goes back up. It’s only $1.99 on Amazon for three more days!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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Coffee, I need more coffee…

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It’s too early to be Monday! I know, it’s a holiday and my son is out of school, so why am I up this early. Well, my internal clock refuses to sleep past seven. So, I’m up and writing already. Of course I do have to go to the office in a couple of hours. It’s tax season, so I have to work.

I’m already on my second cup of coffee. The first cup was just a primer of sorts. It’s dreary and cold outside. So my body is in denial about being awake, which makes it hard to get going.

To make things more interesting, as I opened my calendar of release dates, need to be at the editor dates, and all my writing deadlines, I panicked. Being the  smart girl I am, and use that term loosely, I looked at this weeks writing agenda, then panicked. Of course, since I’m not completely awake, I looked at next week, not this week. Let’s just say I broke out in a cold sweat thinking I had to turn in Lily to my editor.

Then, finally, I realized that today is the 15th, not the 22nd. To say I was relieved is putting it lightly. I almost shouted, because adding over 8000 words to my already crazy word count this week would be brutal, to say the least.

So, how’s your Monday so far? I know several of you are already deep into this day, so has it been a typical Monday or extraordinary one?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you. Of course being a romance author, this is a good day to advertise romance. Most people are thinking about love today, so I’ll help them out with a few specials.

Only on Amazon, Seaside Beginnings will be $1.99 until just after the release on Wednesday.

Seaside preorder ad

Then over at allromanceebooks.com, they’re offering a 50% rebate, which is a good deal. My books are here too! https://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=Stephanie+Payne+Hurt

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So, there it is in a nutshell. Romance at a discount everywhere. What are you up to on this day of romance? Me, it’s off to Church for service, then a special dinner. Of course, I have a word count to catch up on as always.

Happy Valentines Day!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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When writing Historical Romance…

Have you written historical romance yet or a historical thriller even? To me, writing historical romance is more difficult than contemporary. Why? Well, let me explain.

As I was working on ‘Lily’ yesterday, I got to a part where they were stepping off the train in a new town. That sounds simple, but then I thought about the towns description. Now this part is based in the late 1890’s, so what was around in that time period? Were there still wagons around, had the car been invented (no, I couldn’t remember when the car was invented), or did some towns have electricity then?

The funny thing was, in one part, and yes, it’s still a clean, Christian historical romance, but as the couple walked down the sidewalk they come across a ‘brothel’ and since my main character ‘Lily’ is from a small, Georgia town, she asked about what it was. So, I looked up words for a brothel from that time period, gee I hope nobody looks at my Google searches! Needless to say, the thesaurus was my friend, yet again.

There’s so much to writing historical literature that many don’t think about. Your character can’t simply walk into a room and flip the light switch. Yeah, I had my character walk into a dark room, then realized she needed to light her lantern, so I went back and wrote that in. I had a giggle about that one. Poor thing, I left her in the dark for 5 whole paragraphs before I realized my mistake.

Since I’m writing four historical romances this year, all from different time periods, Google will be my best friend. It’s a good thing that history was my favorite subject in school, but of course, that was …. many years ago, we won’t go into the number of years. As my son puts it, I am part of history, meaning old history. LOL!

So, have you tried writing historical romances? Did you have a hard time keeping it historical, without including more contemporary elements?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

By the way, Lily is now up for preorder!

 


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What’s coming up…

Lily Release ad!

As most of you know, I schedule my books and try to stay ahead of myself. Well, this year I’m way ahead of that. My 2016 writing is scheduled down to the date the manuscript has to go to the editor, the day the preorders have to be on each site and the release dates. It’s kind of exciting to know what’s coming up.

So here’s a list of what’s coming up for 2016:

Seaside Beginnings front cover Seaside Beginnings – February 17, 2016

Lily front cover Lily – March 27, 2016 (Book 3 of the Magnolia Hill Saga)

A Light Upon My Heart – April 30, 2016

The First Mate’s Lady – June 5, 2016 (Continued from Safe in the Pirate’s Arms)

Finding the Heart – July 1, 2016 (Book 2 of the Alpine Series)

Sowing the Right Seed – August 5, 2016 (Book 4 of the Lean on Him Series)

Georgia – September 5, 2016 (Book 4 of the Magnolia Hill Saga)

That’s just through September, but wow, this will be a busy year for me. How exciting! So, how’s your schedule going for this year? Have you thought about scheduling things to make it easier for you?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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If I could go anywhere…

Good morning! It’s Saturday and sunny, but really cold here in Georgia. I was thinking about things on my bucket list. Do you have one? Come on, you know there’s something you’d like to do before you leave this place or maybe somewhere you’d like to go.

For me, I’ve always wanted to visit Switzerland. Even when I was young, I’d dream of the snow-capped alps and green meadows below. Once I wrote to the Swiss tourist bureau about a report I was doing on Switzerland. They sent me a whole package on the country. It was great as I went through all the pictures and pamphlets. I was in a dream world, for a while at least.

Well, since I did the research for my book, Tuscany, I’ve added that to my bucket list. As I researched the places and food in Tuscany, my heart was lost to it. Maybe one day I’ll brave a plane trip over there, but I don’t know. It’s nice to dream about it. Since I’m a writer, I can live through my characters. When I wrote Tuscany, I imagined being there. It took me away to another place. Once the book was at the end, I felt sad. So, yes another book set in Tuscany will be on the horizon, but probably for next year.

So, if you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Switzerland                                                                Tuscany


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Celebrating 22 years of Romance!

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Today is our 22nd wedding anniversary! It’s hard to believe it. I talk about romance a lot in my posts, of course, I’m a romance author, but also I live it daily.

As I’ve always said, one of the tips to a great marriage is to keep the romance alive. We strive to do that in our marriage, daily. Whether it’s the quick kiss as we pass by one another or the hugs over the stove as I cook dinner, we’ve always showed our love, never embarrassed to express it in public. Of course, our son tells us to behave, which we don’t usually listen.

I’ve heard many people say that as the years pass by, the romance goes away. With us, it just grows each and every day. As the years go by, we begin to read each other’s mind, which can be a little scary.

So, with that said, how long have you been with your significant other? What do you do to keep the romance alive?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Happy Endings…

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It’s Monday, already! I don’t think I was ready for Monday, were you? Over the weekend, I turned one book into my editor and started a new book, so it was a fairly productive weekend. But this morning, I’m just not feeling it…

Happy Endings… Does every book end with a Happily Ever After? Not all of them, but in the romance genre, they need to end on a happy note. Of course, if it’s a series that continues from one book to the next, then it might not be a happy ending, but the final one should be if it’s a romance. Why is that? Well, let me explain.

Did you know that most editors, well the big publishing house editors, have in their submission guidelines for romance that it has to have a happy ending, if not, they won’t even look at it? Have you ever thought about it? Romance is a special genre, well, in my opinion. When someone picks up a romance novel, they’re wanting that good feeling that a romance can give them. They want to be taken to another world, away from the one they’re in. Romance novels should move you, give you hope, maybe make you cry or laugh, but when it gets to the end, well, the guy should get the girl. That’s why it’s called romance.

Now sometimes, if you’re writing a series and the book ends on a cliffhanger, then the happy ending will come at some time, but the series should end on a happy note. It’s just a reality of writing romance.

Have you ever read a romance that ended badly? I have and it left me feeling horrible, not the usual feeling at the end of a romance. I was stunned, to say the least. I could have expected this at the end of maybe a science fiction, or other genres, but not romance. The guy didn’t get the girl and at the end, they went their separate ways. All I could do was think, ok, there has to be another book coming, but that wasn’t the case. I felt empty inside.

So, does your romance have a happy ending? Does your reader have that satisfied feeling? Think about it, don’t you spend the whole book trying to get these two together, so why would you throw that out the window at the end?

Just a little food for thought on this Monday morning…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…