Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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The Free Book Debate…

Good morning! Hope all is well with you on this beautiful morning. Georgia is having a beautiful day today, but the weather will be here for Thursday and Friday, so we need to enjoy today and tomorrow!

As for today’s topic, it’s permafree books. There’s much controversy about this strategy. Most authors split the fence on this topic. I’ve played with it periodically through the years, but my newest try at it has been a success. Why do I say that, you might ask? Well, here’s why…

Do you see the number just above this sentence? That’s where Ridge is at the moment. Since I put it on permafree several weeks ago, it has stayed in the top 100 in this category and notice it’s not the free category. You’re probably saying, ‘but it’s free so you’re making nothing on all those downloads’, well that’s true, but here’s why it’s a good thing.

The week that Ridge went free, there wasn’t a lot of change in sales. But the next week and all the ones to follow showed a huge difference in my sales. suddenly it was like I could follow the readers journey. Each book in this series started selling in order of the series, then my other books started in the same way. It’s like the readers are buying the Five Oaks Series, then working their way through each of my series. Kind of like watching dominoes fall in a row. I’ve also started selling my older published books, which a couple of them had to be dusted off from sitting on Amazon so long 😉

SO, I’d say my trial period worked. Ridge will stay free. My suggestion is to wait until you have a couple of books in your series out before you go free with the first one. That way the reader has a direction to go in. Then sit back and watch it do the work for you. It’s like free advertising!

Have you tried this? How did it work for you?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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The tools of the trade…

IMG_1489I finally broke down and bought a lap desk. I’m so glad I did. It makes my writing so much easier, especially on my wrists. Also, it gives me room for the mouse, which I’ve been lacking for a while with my writing. Notice it’s shiny and purple, giving me a cheery workspace.

Since I do most of my writing with my laptop in my lap, this made it more like a desk. Now it’s not wobbly or warm on my legs.

Hope everyone is having a great Saturday, as for me, I’m doing a little writing, then cleaning, but mostly I’ll be working on tax returns this afternoon, so it’s a busy day.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you…

 


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Start to Publish…

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Good Tuesday morning! I hope all is well with you. As for here in Georgia, it may be Spring, but someone forgot to tell the weather. It’s chilly again…

As for my writing, things are going well. I have several manuscripts in various stages of production. You might ask, what stages are you talking about? Well, here’s a simple guideline that I follow as I bring a manuscript full circle into publication.

1: Of course, first things first, the idea. Sometimes the idea for a book can happen months before I even start the first page of the manuscript, but when the idea comes, I put it down on paper, if not I’ll lose the excitement of that moment. I have a small notebook that holds my story ideas, some have come to be and others have incorporated themselves into other stories.

2. As you know from previous posts, I do an outline. It’s basic, but it leads me through the story, the bones, so to speak. I’ve told you before, most stories come to me in whole, or large lumps of information. The quicker I get that outlined, the quicker the story can come alive.

3. Now it’s time to schedule it into my calendar. Right now, I’m scheduled through the end of the year with stories flowing over into 2017. This way I know in the back of my head what I need to finish on this manuscript in the future, like blurbs, covers and such.

4. Once it’s time to start the manuscript, I sit down with my outline and notes from thoughts I’ve had along the line. Even as I work on other books, things pop up in my mind that would work with other works. That’s when I pull out the outline from my portfolio and jot down the thought for future reference. That way I don’t lose the moment.

5. It’s time to write. This is when I get in the structure and bones of the story, fleshing out the outline points and filling in the characters as I go. This is also when Scrivener is my best friend. All of the characters are lined up down the left of my screen, reminding me of names and people involved. This part of the writing is fast and unedited, very unedited. It’s the write by the seat of my pants, knowing I’ll go back later to correct.

6. Ok, so I have my rough, rough, rough draft ready, now it’s time to go back and fix the many errors, misspelled words, horrible grammar and left off punctuation that leads my editor to want to plot my murder. Now it’s ready to go to her for the red pen, this is the scary part!

7. As I wait for the edited manuscript to come back, I’ll work on covers, blurbs, advertising and setting up the pre-order for the book that’s being worked over.

8. Now the manuscript is back, needing some work and ready to be corrected. I input the changes, make additions and get it formatted. I add the front and back matter, then scan back through to make sure I’ve checked everything. Oh, and just for giggles, I go back through, doing a spellcheck. I’m human, I forget stuff.

9. Wow, it’s now ready for publication! This is the moment an author sweats profusely, hoping you haven’t left off anything major, forgotten to correct something and hope upon hope that your readers love the book you’ve poured your heart into.

This is why most people that say, ‘I could write a book and publish it, it’s too easy’, they don’t ever publish a book. A book doesn’t just appear when you have the thought, it’s a process, one that needs to be taken seriously. So many authors don’t take it seriously and when they hit send, it’s missing something or hasn’t been thought through. Take it seriously, it’s your reputation as a writer.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

P. S. Don’t forget Lily comes out the 27th. Get your preorder now…

Lily Release ad!


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Today’s the day!!!

Ok, are you ready? I know I am. So, without further words from this writer, I give you ‘A Light Upon My Heart’.

A Light Upon My HeartFront Cover

Naomi Harris has always dreamed of finding her prince charming, but being a poor farm girl from a small south Georgia town doesn’t provide much in the way of eligible men. Joseph Walsh is a wealthy rancher from a town in Montana that has more men than women. He dreams of having a wife and children, but with no single women in town, he’s forced to send for a mail-order bride. Naomi’s father is in trouble financially, so he agrees to send Naomi to Montana to be Joseph’s bride.

Joseph tries to make Naomi feel at home, but he knows something is troubling her. Naomi isn’t telling him everything and he tries to get it out of her. Then her secret is revealed, a secret that could cost them both their lives. Will Joseph send her packing or will he save her from the past that soon comes back to haunt her?

Alright friends, share this post and tag me in it for a chance to win a signed copy of the paperback version of this book. There will be several surprise gifts coming as the release date of April 30th draws near.

So many exciting things coming that I can’t tell them all. Stay tuned for more in the coming days…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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Cover Reveal Tomorrow!

Come by tomorrow for an exciting cover reveal! My newest manuscript that’s set to come out April 30th, A Light Upon My Heart is a Christian Historical romance.

I’ll give you a little hint of what it looks like, but tomorrow it’s the full deal.

Cover Reveal Hidden

I know, it’s not much to see, but it’s a special cover! Come join me and you’ll get a chance at a free paperback of this book. Just tag me in your share and I’ll put your name in the drawing. The preorder will be up soon too!

 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Deadlines keep you focused…

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Deadlines are all around us! We have deadlines for tax filing, bill paying, publishing our manuscripts, getting to work, the list goes on. Some days the deadlines seemed to crowd in and boggle our brains, but to put it in perspective, deadlines keep us on track!

As with my work, I’m an accountant which means I’m on a constant deadline. There’s payroll taxes due, sales tax due, income tax filing, and many more items that make your head spin. Maybe that’s why a lot of accountants are introverts, we don’t have time to be anything else!

With writing, you have deadlines for publishing, completed book covers, blurbs, contests, dare I go on. I heard that groan from the masses, yep, you know where I’m coming from. But the deadlines keep us focused. So, maybe we don’t keep up with our word counts and end up putting twenty thousand words in two days, but we get it done 😉

SO, do deadlines help you or make you crazy?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

By the way, I met my deadline for the finished manuscript for Lily with 24 hours left over. That made me give myself a high five.

Lily Release ad!

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7815007@N07/16931340822″>Educational Postcard: “A deadline is helpful….”</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;


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Dust Bunnies of the brain…

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It’s Monday folks! Does your brain feel like this dust filled pan? Mine does. I actually timed my writing this morning so that I did my allotted work before I attacked social media. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could pull out a pan from our brain and clear the dust and cobwebs?

I have several exciting announcements coming up in the next couple of days and weeks. Along with some preorders going up and then a series announcement that has me excited, I’ll be doing a cover reveal for a couple of upcoming books.

If anyone is interested in helping me make these announcements, especially the cover reveals, just let me know. I want to get the word out, far and wide. I’m just bowled over with excitement about the new covers for the works in progress. When you see them, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

So, how’s your Monday so far? Here’s to hoping it’s great…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/23408922@N07/23807288069″>Project 366 #4: 040116 Harder To Breathe</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;


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Fascination

Fascination, now that’s an interesting word. It means, the power to fascinate someone; the quality of being fascinating. What fascinates you? For me there are many things, like people, they fascinate me. I love to sit and watch people engaged in conversation. The facial expression, the way the get animated telling a story. It’s amazing, the different things you see in their eyes.

Actors, they fascinate me how they weave a story from memory. But it’s not only the memory part, many people can memorize words, but they can’t show you the words. Actors show you the words in their actions, reactions, and expressions.

Words fascinate me. Amazing, huh, since I’m an author. But seriously, the power of words is vast and complex. As a writer, we can create a life that’s not real, but for us a we write it, we can bring a character to life, give them feelings, expressions, features, all with just words. Then we can bring them to our readers and carry them away to other worlds, countries, or times. Amazing, the power of words.

Life is fascinating. Look at the stages of life. We start out helpless babies, then grow into children, teenagers, young adults, middle-age adults, then as we grow past senior adults, we sometimes become helpless again, back to where we started. We’re given a short amount of time of this Earth and it goes by in the blink of an eye, but how do we make our mark, leave our legacy. Deep stuff!

Ok, now to yesterday’s contest, if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, then you know I didn’t make it, but I’m not sad or upset. It’s part of the process we call writing. What fascinates some people is the fact that I’m not upset. But that’s not me, I move forward, not backward. So, on with other contests, other submissions, and other publishing.

Since it’s Thursday, I’ll give you some Throwback Thursday. This is one of the books that the research fascinated me. Reincarnation, dreams, and finding the right time all mixed into one book that filled my thoughts for months before I wrote it.

Here’s a little excerpt:

He bowed his head and shook it from side to side. “I don’t understand how a man that’s been dead for over one hundred years can just take over your heart. How can you even think about going back to him? If you love me, how can you love him too?”

Finding the Right Time

Finding the Right Time front cover


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Putting it in perspective

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Good Wednesday morning! Today’s the day I find out if I made it to through the 1st phase of the #manuscriptmatch writing contest for Love Inspired Historical from Harlequin. Keeping fingers crossed and saying many prayers!

Do you organize your writing? By that I mean, do you put it into an organizer and set up your writing schedule? As you know from other posts, I’ve began to organize my writing so that I’m more aware of my deadlines and word count needs.

Of course, I have my handy journal calendar that has my deadlines for things like, word count daily requirements, also I have to give my manuscript to my editor, when it needs to be put into Amazon to meet the preorder requirements and when it officially releases. But this past week, I went one step further. I made a file for all of my releases for the next eight months. I now have a place to put research that I print, outlines, and a page with all of my important dates regarding the manuscript. I can even put a copy of any ads I’ve run on that one book.

It may seem like a lot of work, but it actually cuts down on the workload. I have all of the files in this nice, vinyl accordion file that looks nice and keeps all of the paperwork from cluttering my writing space. Try it, you won’t regret it. This is especially helpful when you also have a full-time job. I now have everything at my fingertips. Of course, I have a lot of this in my Scrivener program too, but this way I can do plotting without opening my computer if I don’t want to.

As always, Good writing and May God Bless You…

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/58612482@N07/12551866924″>02.07.2014</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;


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Patience is a Virtue!

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Patience… What exactly does ‘Patience’ mean? Well, according to Google, it means the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. Umm, wow, do writers need patience? Yes!

I’ve always been a mostly patient person on the outside, but on the inside, I’m a nervous wreck. Like today, my brain is a ball of mush because the #ManuscriptMatch with Harlequin is over at 1pm tomorrow, so I have to wait. But, I need to be patient, because as my grandmother used to say, ‘a watch pot never boils’.

As a writer, we have to have patience and here is a couple of reasons why:

  1. Of course, we have to be patient as we write the manuscript. That can be a hard one. The story goes through most writer’s mind faster than our fingers can type, but we have to be patient that the story will be finished when it’s finished.
  2. Waiting on the edits, that can be hard. You’ve worked hard to get that manuscript done, now it’s time to wait.
  3. If it’s on preorder, then you have to wait for the final release day. This one can be hard for me. I get excited when it’s all polished and pretty, just sitting there, staring at me as the clock slows to a snail pace.
  4. And contest, yep, that’s the mode I’m in now. You enter, then you wait, if you win a phase, then you supply the next part, and you wait, then wait some more. At least this newest contest is only a couple of hours away. It can really make you a wreck.
  5. Here’s a good one and one I’ve heard from fellow authors, you turn your work into a publisher and have to wait for a response. That wait can be grueling. I have two submitted to Avon and I’ve been curious, but trying to hold on.

So, are you a patient person or writer. What do you do to keep from gnawing your nails to the bone or eating everything around you?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Just a little additional mention, my newest book ‘Seaside Beginnings’ is taking off. The response has been humbling, to say the least. I’ve received some of the sweetest emails about it. Ladies are flocking in to ask for more of the over forty books. I’m excited to say that by the end of 2016 there will be another one, but I have several coming out before it. So thanks to all the wonderful response, it makes this writer smile with joy.

Seaside ad

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/85608594@N00/24938724510″>Melody Beattie Believing that things happen too slowly or too quickly is an illusion. Timing is perfect</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;