Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Midweek Writing & Descriptions…

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This week is flying by. So much to do with so little time.

Lately I’ve been focusing more and more on being descriptive. I want my readers to take the journey with me, not just read it. It means more if they see the vision that I do when I’m writing. As I wrote earlier, show, don’t tell. It’s important to keep the readers interest and if they’re just reading words, it won’t. They’ll lose their train of thought. But, if you open up the world to them, then you’ll have fans for life.

For instance, in my current WIP, when Hadley is walking up the sidewalk, I get into the weather, the scenery around her and the neighbor that always stops her, keeping her from the tasks at hand. Also her little cottage on the sleepy street in the small town. I go into detail so that the reader has a sense of where she lives and during certain parts of the story, how close she is to possible danger.

So see, you have to be descriptive. Let your reader into your head. It can only make it better for them.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Writing scenes ahead…

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Good morning from icy Georgia! It’s below freezing and the precipitation falling isn’t rain… Time for the bulky sweaters that collect dust, but I keep them for just this sort of day…

Now, on to the post. Have you ever wrote a scene ahead of time? I keep a notebook beside my laptop for just this thing. And I label them as what they are. About 90% of the time I know in my head how the book ends and if I’m working on the first half and hit a snag, I’ll write the ending. It inspires me to push through the fog that clouds my thoughts sometimes.

But, will those scenes change and evolve as the writing prior to them does. Certainly, but it keeps you focused on the upcoming events. I’ve written several pages of scenes, then totally deleted some of them as the characters went in another direction. But it’s exciting to step ahead and see the future.

Did I say I could see the future? Yes, in my writing I can. So don’t ask me to read tea leaves or anything like that. I can’t see that kind of future. So, start looking ahead in your WIP and see what can be. It will help with the current part of the process.

As always, good writing and <ay God Bless You…


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Indie Publishing… Growing

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3 Ways Indies Can Improve Self-Publishing

As a writer I see a lot of writers come and go in the spot light. It’s amazing how many books are appearing on Amazon and other platforms daily. When I started publishing my work in 2012, you could stay on the front page of new releases for at least 24 hours. Now you’re lucky if you stay there for 24 minutes. 

I’ve found out a couple of things about some of this craziness and that’s the indie authors that haven’t done their homework. Here are 3 of the many ways indies can improve self-publishing and the stigma that goes with it. But also, things have changed on that front too. Now more people are self publishing that ever before.

1: Editing. How many times do you edit your book? I know how exciting it can be to get to the words ‘The End’ and want it out there right then, but that’s a mistake. Make sure you read your work several times and one of those needs to be out loud. I recently went in and revised one of my first published books due to the fact that I put it out there way too fast. Editing is a very important part of the publishing process and as a self-publisher that’s up to you the writer. Also, there are many great editors out there that don’t cost you an arm and leg to hire them. It’s well worth the money and your work will benefit from an extra eye.

2: Cover Design: This is critical. When I look back at my first covers that I designed, I seriously laugh. They were so boring and uninspiring, but being an accountant I didn’t train on creative design software. That’s when I put me assistant to work as my cover designer. She took one look at my work and said ‘not happening’. She went to work and designed the awesome covers that now grace my books. This is the first thing that a potential reader sees. If it doesn’t inspire them, they will go on to the next book. And on top of that, make sure it’s relevant with the book and make it vibrant.

3: The Book Blurb: As a self-publisher this is solely your responsibility. This is one of the hardest things to do for me. Don’t get too out there. Make sure it’s very expressive and use lots of expressive words, but don’t give a lot away. If you give away the ‘who done it’ then there’s no sense reading the book. Make several different ones and have some other people read it. See what they think. Also, in the blurb, give the person a sense of thrill for picking up your book.

This was just a few of the ways that help a self published author. And remember, these are important parts of your book. Of course, the inside is important, but to get someone to actually see the inside, you need to get them to buy it first.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Writers stay healthy!

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I have the rainy Monday morning blahs… But sipping some strong coffee, so hoping this feeling passes. So, let’s dive into writers and their health. It’s a double edged sword…

If you’re like me, you work a day job and write in your free time, which leaves precious little time to exercise. Even full time writers don’t take the time to exercise. So, what do we do? The fact is, it’s important to get moving as much as possible. Yes, we love to chase the words, but are we doing it at the cost of our health.

Let’s look at some things you can do to help stay healthy and keep up with your word count:

  • Get in those steps! Try to get in at least 10,000 steps a day. Yes, I know it’s hard, but even on a rainy day you can walk inside. I’ve set a timer on my phone to make me get up and move. Today is my first day of keeping track of it better. I’ve been slacking since I had a book deadline, not to mention it’s tax season. So, get up and march in place for a few minutes, or walk to the mailbox a couple of times a day. Whatever it takes to get those steps up? Give Yoga a try. It’s a great mind clearing way to get healthier and stay in shape.
  • If you have to snack while writing, then grab something healthy. A couple of examples are: 1. Freeze some grapes and eat when writing. 2. Cut up an apple and get a little peanut butter to dip it in. 3. Eat low salt nuts such as almonds or cashews. 4. Yogurt with granola. 5. Cut up veggies such as carrots or even bell pepper and dip in ranch.
  • If you grab coffee, like me, then opt for no creamer, or less creamer. Maybe even grab some decaf at times. Also, remember those fancy coffees from the coffee shop add a lot of calories to your day. Opt for a simple cup of joe.
  • Tea is great, unless you’re southern like me and love it sweet. Change it up to green tea or herbal with antioxidants to help you out.
  • Last, but not least, stay hydrated. Drink lots of water. I keep a bottle of water with me all of the time. Get in your allotted amount of water a day. If you can’t handle plain water, then grab some of those no calorie flavorings. I love those. But staying hydrated is important.

Remember, the only way to get that bestseller seen is to be healthy enough to finish it. If you’re not here, then it won’t see the light of day. And as your fellow writer, I want to see you succeed and stay healthy. This goes for me. Let’s start this today!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Organizing your Published works…

It’s another cool morning here in Georgia, but I’m warm and cozy under my blanket with my laptop. Today we’re discussing how to organize your published works. You may be asking what I mean, well, let me enlighten you.

With over 50 published books, sometimes I get lost in where every book is already published. I can’t remember which book is on which platform. Organization is needed even if you only put your books on one platform. So, here is what I do…

Platform Organization

First, I sit down and make a spreadsheet. The header includes all of the platforms that my books are on. The first column lists all of my books. This way I can mark off the books that are already on certain platforms. And this also helps when republishing older works with new covers. Doing this, I don’t miss out on having my books everywhere.

The moment I started working with this spreadsheet, I realized that I was missing several platforms for some of my books. This is missed opportunity, so everyday I work on at least one platform, updating files and getting my books everywhere.

 PublishedAmazonKUB&NKoboAppleSmashAudibleGoogle
5 Oaks Ranch Series         
Ridge         
Oakley         
Chase         
Luke         
Maggie         
A Christmas to Remember         
5O Collection          

Book Organization

Now, you may be asking how this is different. Book organization is a spreadsheet similar to the above one, but this one is book formats. In this one, I just copy the previous spreadsheet and change the header. In the header I input Ebook, Print, Audio, Front Cover, Back Cover, Blurb, and Publish date.

This has helped me to keep up with what needs to be done for each book. It’s like a checks and balances, but for books.

 outlinecharacterfrontebookblurbexerptprintbackspine
5 Oaks Ranch Series         
Ridge         
Oakley         
Chase         
Luke         
Maggie         
A Christmas to Remember         
5O Collection          

I do hope this helps you in some way. It’s helped me a lot.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Monday Thoughts and Coffee…

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It’s the first Monday after Christmas and all through the house… Nope, not going there. My house is somewhat back to order, but still not back to normal.

Does anyone else struggle with what day it is after a long weekend? And this weekend will be another four day weekend, so the struggle is real. Although these two long weekends will be awesome since tax season starts next week, so I’ll need the time off to charge my batteries.

Now, on to writing thoughts. As I shared earlier, I have a new series coming in 2021. It’s a Christian Suspense Romance Series called In Harms Way. This is a step out of my comfort zone, but I’m excited for this new turn in my writing. And the covers are nothing short of amazing. Yes, all five books have covers already. I’ve got a short blurb ready for each one as well, which I’ll share a little bit along.

The first book, Safe, is set to release in March. This book has been on my mind for quite a while, so to be able to put it on paper is such a wonderful feeling. The main two characters each have their own issues. Hadley is a dedicated introvert. She is a homebody, only leaving to go to Church, the store, and when her agent requires it, to a book signing. As you may have guessed, she’s a writer. Her books have made her a nice, comfortable living, and have allowed her to stay in her shell. But her life is about to get a jolt of reality that she’s not prepared for.

Drew is a broody, partially retired Navy Seal, turned Wyoming rancher. He’s struggled to get out of the dark hole that war put him in, but ranching and fresh air have brought him a long way from his former self. Then he takes a trip to his hometown and ends up in the middle of a nightmare. When he tries to help, he only gets himself in deeper and the darkness threatens to swallow him back up. The moment he meets Hadley, he knows that he has to do everything in his power to save her, but she isn’t so sure.

This book will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions as these two struggle with their own demons. But once they figure out that the only way out is together, they have to get past the things in their lives that make them who they are. It will have you cringing, gasping, sighing, then smiling and back to cringing. It’s a thriller that will have you guessing right up to the end.

So, let’s get this Monday started with a pot of coffee laced with cinnamon and a cool coffee mug. Did I tell you I’m obsessed with coffee mugs? Now you know…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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First book FREE – It works!

It’s a rainy morning in Georgia, which calls for extra coffee. Monday’s are hard, but especially when it starts out rainy and dreary. But, life goes on, so let’s get this day going.

Free books make some authors shudder, but making the first book in a series free can give you that boost that you need. Some authors opt not to offer the first book in a series for free and that’s alright too. Just having a series that readers can fall in love with is good too.

Why is it good to offer the first book for free? I tried this with the first book in the Five Oaks Ranch Series. At first I was skeptical, but then I realized that it was the best decision for this series. The fact is that the rest of the series sells great following the free downloads of Ridge, the first book that is free. And this series has become my best selling series yet.

Here’s the catch. Don’t you just hate a catch. If you offer a book for free, make sure that it is edited well. Why? Because a free book that has a tantalizing cover and blurb will fly off the shelves. People love something for free. And if the book is well written and firmly edited, it will gain you a fan for the rest of the series. Readers love a good series that can draw them into a world created in the series. If they love it, then they’ll buy the rest of the series.

Here’s a look at Ridge. Fall in love with the Cauthen family in this sweet series that follows the lives of the five siblings and their ranch.

Ridge was the first one up the next morning. He needed to check the cattle in the far pasture and make sure the newborns were doing well. When he walked into his office in the stable with his coffee he was surprised to see Mallory walking up from the stalls.

“Good morning.” She said as she stepped into his office. “I didn’t expect to see anyone this early.”

“What are you doing here so early?” He sat down and took a long drink of his hot coffee.

“I’ve got an early meeting with a ranch across the county and needed to check on Chase’s horse. He thought he might have something wrong with his back leg, but it was just a little strain. I’ve iced it up and left Chase a message on what he needs to do when he gets to the barn.”

“That man rides his horses too hard. I’ve always told him to be easier on them.” His younger brother was the wilder one, thinking about nothing but the rodeo.

Mallory laughed, causing his heart to skip a beat. “Chase has his head set on the rodeo. I’ve tried to convince him it’s not a good idea, but he doesn’t listen to me.” Rolling her eyes as she spoke.

Suddenly Ridge was jealous of his brother, but why? Was it because Mallory was having conversations with him? Did they have something together? Ridge’s heart hurt at the thought. He used all his strength to push it out of his head.

“Well, Chase does have a stubborn streak.” He commented as he looked down at his desk.

“Yes, he does. But I hear your stubborn streak is worse.” She said in a quiet voice.

His head snapped up at her comment, causing him to become defensive. “I take it Maggie has been talking more than need be.” He’d have a conversation with his meddlesome little sister.

“I didn’t mean to make you mad, it was just an observation.” Struggling with her better judgment, she continued. “You seem really high strung and tense. Maybe you need to have some fun, get out and live a little.”

Ridge leaned back in his chair as he studied the woman standing in front of his desk. “And what do you suggest I do for fun?” The look he sent her way made her step back a bit.

This man made her squirm with something she’d never felt before and she couldn’t quite put a hand on it. Was it anger, envy, or interest? “I don’t know what you like to do.” She shrugged as she backed up to the doorway. “There’s a dance in a couple of weeks. You could always find a date and go let off some steam on the dance floor.”

“Oh I can think of several things to let off steam, but going to a crowded dance doesn’t come to mind.” He watched the blush creep up her neck and cover her beautiful face.

Mallory stammered with her reaction to his comment. “I was just making a suggestion.”

“Well, thanks for the evident concern, but I’m handling my ‘stress’ just fine.” He stood and walked over to where she was rooted to the floor. “Are you offering to help me release my stress?”

She gasped and looked up into his gorgeous eyes, mesmerized by his nearness. Clearing her throat she found her voice. “No, not at all, just commenting on the obvious.”

Ridge grinned devilishly, and walked past her, headed toward his horse. “Have a good morning, Mallory.” The parting words spoken over his shoulder in humor, as he gave himself a silent high five, realizing he still had it.

Mallory propped on the door frame to gain her senses. That man had the ability to make her speechless and that was a hard thing to do. She straightened and headed for her truck. Her heart was pounding like a thunderstorm in her chest as she pulled herself up into the truck. What a start to the day?

Ridge stepped into his horse’s stall with a grin. He’d made her stammer and blush. Maybe now she’d get the picture. He was unapproachable and happy to be alone for the time being. Women weren’t off the table for him, but at the moment it wasn’t advisable.

I hope you liked this small look into Ridge, the first book of the Five Oaks Ranch Series. It’s FREE on Amazon, so fall in love with this series by clicking this link. And think about making one of your books free to kickstart sales.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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5 things every author needs to know…

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Good morning! Writing… Writers block… Publishing… The life of a writer. It’s a roller coaster and not for the faint of heart. Here are the top 5 things every author needs to know about starting to write and publish…

  1. It’s not as easy as it looks. Let me be very clear about this, writing isn’t easy. There’s more to it than simply writing words. You’ve got to make sure to plot, plan, and organize those words to where the reader can get lost in the world you’ve created. If you don’t do it with an ebb and flow, then the reader will lose interest and move on. So, don’t think it’s just putting words on paper. There’s so much more to the process.
  2. Writer’s block is real! Every author has experienced writer’s block at one time or the other. It’s a helpless feeling and only perseverance gets you through it. You can get past it, just have confidence. Keep writing and working on other projects.
  3. Editor’s are essential. Alright, let’s all say this and put on repeat! Editors are essential. Even the most savvy writer can’t find all of the mistakes or bad wording in a manuscript. To be honest, editors miss some too. But let’s be honest, when we’re reading our own work, it’s hard to be completely harsh. An editor can help to reword things so that the story flows better. And some changes, even though they can hurt, are necessary.
  4. Read everyday… It may sound crazy, but reading actually helps you as a writer. But read in the genre that you write in. I’ve been reading books that the author wrote with such clear, precise wording that I was inspired. And I’ve read books that lost me from the first page. When I read things like this, it helps me to look at my work differently. Try it.
  5. Know your audience. If you write sweet romance, then don’t go too heavy on the love scenes. Advertising a book as one genre, but the book actually leaning more in another direction can make readers not trust you. So, know who you’re pushing this book to. The same with mysteries turning into nothing more than a romance with nothing to solve. I’ve read books like this and it is disheartening. Also, make sure if the book is erotic, let the reader know.

I could keep going, but you need to get back to writing and so do I. But I hope this helped you a little.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Step out of your comfort zone…

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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…