Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Step out of your comfort zone…

Photo by Sam Kolder on Pexels.com

Alright, every writer knows what I’m talking about when I say, to publish your manuscript, you have to step out of your comfort zone. It’s that moment that you hit submit… Your body trembles… You begin to sweat… You rethink everything in your manuscript… Did I change that dialogue? Did I correct that misspelled word? Did I send it to the right place?

We’ve all felt it and for me, every time I hit submit, I still go through all of these feelings. Even after over 45 romances published, it never gets easier. But it starts to get more satisfying.

So, if you have a manuscript that you’re just holding on to, put it out there. It can’t soar if you don’t. Let your book step out in the light and breathe.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Wishful Harbor

Well, another series is in the books so to say… Wishful Harbor will be complete on the 7th when Bay Street releases. It’s so sad to see the characters go, but this series has brought me so much joy. So, let’s go to wishful Harbor for a moment…

This is a series about the small New England town of Wishful Harbor. Each story can be read as a standalone or part of the series. They are filled with romance, mystery and small-town charm.

Book 1

Breakwater Lane

When Jordan Reed inherits her grandfather’s deli in small town Wishful Harbor, her life is turned upside down. Things start to look better when her childhood crush, Skylar, turns out to be her new contractor. When someone tries to intervene in Jordan and Skylar’s relationships the mysteries of Jordan’s family start to unravel. What she learns could change her life and her family’s reputation forever.

Book 2

Hideaway Lane

When a small fire in Julie’s bookstore brings the firemen, she’s shocked to find out one of them is her old high school crush, Paul Wells. Paul can’t believe his luck, so he asks her to the town festival. He’s now the owner of the Christmas tree farm on Hideaway Lane, the one Julie has been going to all her life. But, when the bank threatens to take the farm from him, Julie steps in to help. Romance blooms in this story of old crushes, Christmas spirit, and small-town charm.

Book 3

Inlet Circle

In the small town of Wishful Harbor, life is good, that is until things go wrong. When Lacey, the owner of One More Cup, the local coffee shop slides on the ice and right into the side of Chip’s truck, the sparks fly. Chip has come to town to take over ownership of the Inlet Cove Inn. Neither of them is ready for anything more than friendship, but when they’re stranded at the Inn with no power for twenty-four hours, they think that maybe love could heal old wounds. But, only time will tell in this sweet, small-town romance.

Book 4

Pier Cove

A SmallTown Romance filled with adventure and sweet romance…
Marly loves anything old, so what starts out as a hobby, turns into a business. Since she’s a treasure diver in her spare time, she’s thrilled when the opportunity arises to run a store in the historical seaside town of Wishful Harbor.
Liam is a third-generation owner of the Wishful Harbor marina. He is interested in knowing more about the new resident of Wishful Harbor. They hit it off as friends almost immediately.
When she hears the old tale of a shipwreck off the end of the lighthouse cape, she enlists Liam’s help to find the treasure, although he’s not a fan of taking her to the wreck. When her old boyfriend gets wind of it, he shows up wanting to take what she’s trying to find.
Together, Marley and Liam work to find the treasure, along with Liam’s granddad Liam. The friendship starts to make a turn into something more, but neither are sure as their pasts try to keep them from having a future.
This is a sweet romance, full of adventure and laughs. The small town of Wishful Harbor is a treasure to be found, and everyone there is family.

Book 5

Bay Street

Bailey Garrett moved to Wishful Harbor looking for a new start. A month before moving to Wishful Harbor, her mother died, and she found out her stepfather was a liar, a thief, and a con artist.

Sherriff Scott Wick hears who is opening the souvenir shop in town, he makes it his business to keep an eye on her hoping she isn’t anything like her stepfather.

Then as mysterious things start happening around Bailey, it doesn’t take Scott long to see that darkness follows Bailey around every corner. Will Scott be able to keep her safe or will her past consume both of them?

In the exciting conclusion of the Wishful Harbor series there will be mystery, adventure, and romance.

Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Make bad reviews work for you…

Good Tuesday morning! Let’s talk about reviews. Yes, I know, some say don’t read them. Some say read them. Me, I read them. But how do we react when we read them? Anger? Confusion? Laughter? Happy? Sad? There’s a lot of things that go through your head when you read reviews of your work. But I have a couple of things to discuss with you about them.

Make them work for you…

What am I talking about? Well, hear me out… Bad reviews can go two ways, one being they are just nasty and have no meaning for your writing, or two, they are well thought out reviews that can tell you something about the work.

Let’s talk about some ways to use bad reviews to make your work better. Here goes:

1: There are misspelled words and grammatical errors!

                We know that it doesn’t matter how many times your work is edited and even if it’s by the best editor out there, mistakes can be missed. I’ve read some of the bestsellers out there that have some mistakes that weren’t caught. SO, use that bad review as a reason to read through your work just one more time with a critical eye.

                Now, do remember, some people are not experts and what they think is a grammatical error, really isn’t. But, I still go back over my work, just in case I missed something, or my editor did. It’s worth the effort in the end. Especially if you get several reviews about the same problem.

2: The book was left on a cliffhanger!

                Ok, this one shocked me the first time I read it. When I read a book that’s part of a series, most of the time I expect a cliffhanger to get me to read the next one. Think about a series on television. They always leave you at the end of the season wondering what the heck just happened and what will happen next. The reason I put this one in my post is because if you get this and it bothers you, then insert a sentence in your description that says, ‘This book ends on a cliffhanger’. That way you don’t have to worry about a reader not understanding that it’s a series and can end on a cliffhanger.

3: The characters were not fleshed out…

                If you get this one, maybe look back at your work and see if you never described your main characters. I know that as a reader, I love to be able to picture the characters in my mind. I’ve received this type of review before and realized that I was so into writing the story, I never fleshed my character out. Yep, that was a facepalm moment for me. Go ahead and add a little description, because as a writer, you know in your mind that you have a picture in your mind of the character.

4: The book was too short… or This book was too long…

                Now this one took me by surprise. But yes, reviewers have opinions on the length of your book. There are those that don’t like them too long and those that don’t like them too short. My thoughts on this are, input in your description, at the end, ‘This is a novella’ or ‘This is a full-length book’. Maybe that little key point will stop some of those lower star reviews.

5: The story doesn’t flow well…

                Now this can be a problem if your story doesn’t flow well. My suggestion is to read the manuscript out loud and don’t do it as the writer, do it as a reader. Meaning, in your mind, you’re the reader wanting to be entertained by the story. Believe me, I do this with my books before I publish them and its eye opening. Sometimes I wonder what on earth was I thinking…

Now there are many more aspects of reviews to look at. Also look at the good ones. This keeps you motivated and let’s you know what your dedicated readers loved. Of course, there will always be those that give a bad review just to do it. I’ve had those.

If you do have a review that’s particularly nasty and doesn’t match your book, report it to the distributor whether it be Amazon, Barnes and Noble or iTunes. I had one that mentioned characters that weren’t even in my book. I reported it to Amazon and the review disappeared. But I had one that didn’t represent my book and they didn’t take it down.

The moral of the blog is this, use even the bad reviews for good. Let them roll off your back and move forward. Now, if you get only bad reviews, then I would definitely take another look at the work. But hey, smile and keep writing. A writer has to have a thick skin. Sometimes when I get my work back from my editor, I have to thicken my skin and push through it. So, keep up the good work!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Easter Sale!

For a limited time, my bestselling Christian Historical Romance, A Light Upon My Heart is on sale for only .99!

A Light Upon My HeartFront Cover https://www.amazon.com/Light-Upon-My-Heart-ebook/dp/B01DIEH8GI

 

Naomi Harris is only 18 when she’s sent from Georgia to Montana to marry a stranger. Joseph Walsh is a wealthy, 30-year-old, ranch owner, but he’s lonely and in need of a Christian bride. Naomi’s poor home life doesn’t prepare her for life on a large ranch and Joseph’s not sure how to react to the innocent young woman that he brought across the country to be his bride. Many obstacles stand in their way as they strive to make their marriage work, but can they get past them? The worst one is the secret that Naomi keeps, it could destroy what they’ve worked to gain. She can’t go back home, ever…

 

Tax season will be over on the 18th and then you’ll get an overload of me 😉 See all of you when I find my way out of the pile of returns… In four days!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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That moment…The perfect ending!

release-ad

Good morning! It’s halfway to the weekend, you can do this!

As I sat this morning, finishing the last minute edits on Promises Made, I read the last paragraph and sighed. Have you ever just really knew when you typed the perfect words to end a book? Well, that’s the moment I had this morning. But, with that being said, I also cried knowing what those last words meant for my characters and also, knowing I can’t say a word yet!!!

Promises Made is taking me to new heights as a writer. It’s different from my other historical romances and has brought me so much excitement for the storyline. I can see all three books in my head and I can’t wait for you to meet Nash and Joy. You will fall in love with them.

Joy is this sweet young woman that believes in romance and love. She’s lost everything, but gained more than she ever expected. Her humble upbringing has made her a strong woman with good morals.

Nash Collins is a rich rancher that was born as a half-breed), his mother was Cheyenne. He is fiercely loyal and needs a wife. The moment they set eyes on one another, Nash knows that she’ll be his one day. But he also knows that it could be impossible until fate turns the tables.

So, be watching for the release that is coming this Friday!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Saturday morning ramblings…

Good morning! First off, I need everyone’s help in voting for the Solstice Author of the Year! Here’s the link: http://solsticepublishing.com/vote-for-author-of-the-year/ so please go by and vote. Voting will make you eligible for goodies.

Now, on to my post for the day. As I’ve been talking about this week, I have designed a neat calendar that helps me somewhat stay on track. But as most writers know, things happen, things change.

I’ve tried several kinds of calendars and nothing really worked for me, so, I sat down and figured this out. I knew that having a whole month in front of me just stressed me out. I don’t need to be reminded that I have something releasing in two weeks or have 20,000 words to do before the end of the month.

The calendar I created is a weekly calendar. Yes, I know there are hundreds of those out there, but not like the one I created. I made it large enough to fit a 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. each day has a large enough square that I can write the name of the book or books for each day, the word count I need to do to stay on schedule, and I can also put how far I am from finishing. Also, I have a side column for each day that gives me room for notes and thoughts that I can use for future projects or just character adjusts. Then I can mark those off as I go.

So, forgive the amateurimg_2473 photo, I’m not a photographer, just a writer…

As I said, it’s nothing fancy, but it works really good for me. I have enough room to be wordy if I need to be. Also, and I stress this heavily, use a pencil for your entries. That way when life comes in and wrecks your schedule, you can just erase and move on.

On release days, write those in colored pencil, that way they stand out. Yes, I need something to jog my memory or I’ll go right by the release day and forget all about it…

This is just the way I do things… Hope it helps. I’ve been playing with the idea of doing a book on being a Self-Published author, but we’ll see where that fits into my schedule. My assistant informed me that the books I now have scheduled go into 2018, but I may have to squeeze it in. At least I have the room to write it in…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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Seeing it clearly…

blurry

Good morning! Hope all is well…

Have you ever looked at your work in process and your mind was more like the picture above? I’ve done this so much that sometimes I have to step away. But what can we do as writers to clear up the fog in our brain?

This weekend I spent most of the time laying around, trying to get over the cold that took over my body on Thursday. I’d planned on doing a major catch up on word counts, but every time I looked at my laptop, I groaned. My head was fuzzy, which is understandable with a cold, but the fuzziness I’m talking about is story line fuzzy…

As you know from my many posts, I try to outline all of my manuscripts, but even then, fuzziness can take over. Just this past week I had one of those, ‘where was I headed with this part of the story’ moments. I went back and forth between my outline and my manuscript, making notes and trying to regain the momentum. The best thing I did was to step back, take a breath, then go back to it.

Ok, so sometimes with deadlines we can’t do that, but I’m not talking about stepping back a week or more, just a couple of hours. Maybe take a long walk, going over the story in your head. And yes, the walk will help clear your head of the fuzzies. I’ve worked out more story problems while putting my tennis shoes on and walking up the road. Amazing how much it helps. If it is raining, then you can watch a movie, lay back and listen to music, or even plot out another story.

But what I’m getting at is when the story gets too much to handle, step back, clear your head and begin again. It helps. I actually scraped a whole manuscript doing this. Yes, it scared me to death, but I did it and was glad I did when I started over. For some reason, we go down a rabbit hole that there’s no way out of, and that can lead to a deeper hole, LOL!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Highlander’s Bride is coming soon… Keep watching for the cover reveal!


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Still holding on…

This morning it looks like fall outside, but by lunchtime it will feel like mid summer. The summer feeling is still holding on, even though fall is pushing hard, trying to slip in. By the end of the week, it’s looking like fall might win.

It’s the same with writing. We start out pushing our first story, then wait. How will it be received? Will it make it to a best sellers list or will it flop? Will I be able to push another story out?

I’ve spoken with authors that work on stories for years before they try to publish them, then others, like myself, push out several stories in one year. But how many of us make it to the next stage, full time writer. Surprisingly enough, not many make it to that status.

We push ourselves, and our work, sometimes to the point that we think it’s pointles, then that sliver of hope comes over the horizon, like the sliver of a moon that stays in the sky after dawn. Maybe it’s a contract with a publisher. Maybe it’s the bestseller list that you hit. Or maybe it’s a great review. Whatever it is, it helps you hold on.

For me it’s the pursuit of the story. My head is filled with them, sometimes to the brink of exploding. I have to get them out, and writing does it. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to write full time. So I push forward, I strive for my goal.

My advice to all my fellow author is to push forward, keep your goal in your sites and don’t give up. All it takes is one book to send you to the top, so keep writing and posting. You never know, the one you finish today could be the one that catapults you to a top ranking author.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Stories filling my head…Yikes!

Good Wednesday morning! It’s halfway to the weekend, so relax a little. You’ve got this.

As a writer, sometimes the stories fill my head and I can’t get them out fast enough. Some days it’s hard to focus on one story without the other stories trying to edge their way in. That’s my problem at the moment. I have so many stories running through my head that sometimes I think my head might explode.

The picture I have of my brain is a little hamster running on her wheel. Yep, that’s my brain for sure. So, how do I prioritize12551866924_826fc1afef this craziness filling my head, I outline. I have so many stories pushing for first place in line, but only one or two can hold that spot at a time. To help with the breaking in line syndrome, I sit down and outline the fussiest, pushiest stories. At least that puts them at ease, for a time, but soon they are pushy again.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not a problem exactly. As a writer, this is a good problem to have, you just have to learn how to keep your stories in line, which is the hard part.

So, how do you wrangle the stories running rampant through your brain?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Cloudy Morning Writing…

Good Tuesday morning! It’s one of those, ‘I want to stay in bed longer’ kind of mornings, but alas, I had to get up and fix breakfast then lunch for my son before school. Now, two cups of coffee later, my eyes are still heavy. Menopause, I blame that for my lack of sleep.

Now, the good side of not sleeping and lying awake; story ideas! As I lay there in the middle of night, refusing to get up and read, I worked on part of my pirate romance that was stumping me. In my mind, I had it figured out. The funny thing is, when I did drift off to sleep, well, I dreamed about pirates. That’s not a bad thing, I like pirates.

So, this morning as I start back on the manuscript, I’ll put the newly thought out part into words. I’m so loving my new pirate romance. It’s pulling me into the story. But of course, all of my books pull me in and envelope me. That’s how I keep my head in the work.

With the cloudy, dreary morning, I struggle with my sleepy eyes, but hopefully, the third cup of coffee will do the job. Especially since I have to get my act together and get to the office in a couple of hours!

As always, good writing, and May God Bless You…