Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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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…

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

And one last thing, sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date with all of my new releases, upcoming releases, and to get a FREE ebook!

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Writing from your heart…

Good morning! It’s been a while since my last post, but I’ve been super busy getting my latest manuscript finished and sent to my editor. I want to share with you what I’ve learned over the last couple of months while working on my newest project.

1: Write what’s in your heart. Don’t let others tell you what you can and can’t write, all that does is tamp down your inner voice. So, fill your pages with what your heart gives you and trust it.

2. Give your writing all that you have. When you get done writing each day, you should feel drained because you’ve put everything into it, but also feel accomplished because you’ve given your muse free reign.

3. Never write something that doesn’t feel right. If it doesn’t feel right, then it shouldn’t be put on paper. Go with your instinct.

SO, do you write from your heart? That’s what I did with the manuscript I just finished. I’m satisfied with the results, which is surprising because I always have that little doubt with each piece of work. But not this time.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

black ball point pen with brown spiral notebook

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com


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Mondays, Memories…Coffee!

Good Monday morning! Why are Monday’s so hard? I think somehow the weekends have grown shorter or is that just me?

Yesterday, I took a short walk outside. It was short due to the high pollen count outside. My allergies are not fans of pollen. But, anyhow, as I walked I saw the two things in the pictures above. As a country girl, these two items are part of my pleasant childhood memories. The dandelions were fun to blow on, sending the little fluffy white seeds floating into the sky, of course as children, we didn’t know we were spreading the flowers everywhere. Then, of course, there were mad searches in among the patches of clover for the elusive 4-leaf clover. I’ve found a couple in my lifetime, which usually ended in a wish. But the memories are heartwarming. It makes me sad that children today, for the most part, don’t take part in this kind of fun.

Several of you have emailed me, asking about my latest manuscript. Well, I can tell you that the first half is in the capable hands of my editor. I’m working on the second half, which is exciting. As you know, I outline, so I’m seeing the ending coming and all I can say is, it’s different from anything I’ve published thus far. So, keep watching for release dates and snippets, which are coming…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

P.S.: It’s Monday, so grab an extra cup of coffee for the road.

coffee-cup-working-happy.jpg


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It’s Release Day…..

Breakwater Lane Front Cover

Good Thursday morning! It’s release day! Do I sound excited? Well, I am… Breakwater officially released today and I’m beyond excited. This series is so much fun to write and I can’t wait to hear from my adoring readers.

**Small Town Romance**

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.

If you didn’t preorder your copy, it’s still only .99 for today only! So grab it now…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

https://www.amazon.com/Breakwater-Lane-Wishful-Harbor-Book-ebook

 

 

 


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Where did January go?

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It’s hard to believe that it’s already February! I feel like I just got settled into the new year and then, bam, another month has passed by in a flash. My grandmother always said, the older you get, the faster times goes by. Of course, when I was young, I thought that was the silliest thing ever. Now, I get it.

So much water has flowed under this bridge that some days I can hardly believe that I’m nearing the half-century mark. Don’t go there! I don’t feel my age and I certainly don’t act it, but it’s there none the less. And to think, my baby is graduating high school in May, what???

Another milestone I’m facing this year, but it’s a good one is that I’ve been a published author for five years. May 12th will mark Ghost Lover’s fifth year in publication. To think, this time five years ago, I was still skeptical about putting my name and work out to the public and now I’m nearing the publication of my 30th book. Yes, I said 30! That’s another thing that baffles my mind. I guess the old adage is true, time flies when you’re having fun!

This Sunday, the hubby and I will celebrate 23 years of blissful marriage. Some days it feels like just yesterday, then other days it feels like we’ve been together our whole lives. That’s what romance does to you, it blows your mind. I wouldn’t take anything for all of the adventures we’ve had and the things we’ve shared.

Now, as I sit here, getting ready to do my morning writing, I’m gazing at my calendar. Yep, I had better get off this post before I fall further behind and have to deal with my assistant’s frown. She has a tendency to look at my writing calendar and tsk tsk at me. LOL!

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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Feeling like Fall…Throwback Thursday!

Good Thursday morning! Here in Georgia it actually feels like fall finally. The temp here is in the high 50’s, so that’s a refreshing way to start the day.

Since it’s Thursday, let’s go back a ways and reacquaint you with one of my first books, Tender Flames. This book was one of the easiest to write out of the 25 I’ve published. It will take you on a journey of love that will leave you wanting more.

Tender Flames revised cover

Here’s a little tidbit from Tender Flames:

They walked hand in hand back to the party, both deep in thought. She was thinking about how her family would react, but mostly how Wes would. Zach knew his family would be happy, well almost his whole family. He knew it was mean of him to want to hurt his brother, but his brother was a fool for not snatching her up long ago. 

     They arrived back at the party.  Randy ran over, “Hey sis, everyone wondered where you two had wondered off to.  Judging by the look on your face I know what you were doing.” He grinned as he pulled his sister’s hair.  She blushed.

     Zach led her to the front of the dance floor.  He whistled for the music to stop.  Everyone turned to see what Zach had to say.  “I have some wonderful news.  I have asked Sara to be my wife, and she has accepted. We are to be wed before my leave is up.”  There was a stunned silence then everyone whooped and yelled.  There were a lot of handshakes and pats on the back for Zach and hugs for Sara.  Her parents were stunned at first, then relieved.  They had always hoped she would marry one of the Dawson boys.  The same went for his parents, they were thrilled.  His mother had even cried. 

Wes walked up and leaned over Sara. He whispered in her ear. “I hope you know what you are doing?” He then gave her a hug that was tight enough to press the air from her lungs. The look he gave her was full of something she did not recognize.  She knew then that he cared more for her than she realized.  She was suddenly angry with him. It served him right. He should have let her know a long time ago. She did not plan on waiting on him the rest of her life.

He gave his brother a hug and said in his ear. “Brother, she had better not be pregnant. You had better make her happy.” He gave him a look that dared him to go against what he said. With that, he had left with his girlfriend.

You’ll fall in love with this love triangle…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

https://www.amazon.com/Tender-Flames-Revised-Love-Book-ebook/dp/B0084USOE2

 

 


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It’s Monday…all day…

Good morning! Why are Monday’s so rough? It might take the whole pot of coffee this morning. But on the good side, it’s slightly cooler this morning, so, I’ll be doing a little writing outside this morning before I head to the office.

As I’ve been telling you, I’m working on a Scottish Highlander series. I was almost done with the first book when it happened. I know, you’re asking what ‘it’ is, well, let me explain. Ok, I was typing along, loving the storyline when all of a sudden the story took a detour. It went downhill from there, but I kept trudging through, thinking it would get better, but alas, it didn’t.

Needless to say, I pulled back, read it from word one and found where the story went wrong, then did the unimaginable, I pressed delete for two whole chapters, two! It hurt, but on the other hand, it felt liberating. When I started back up, the story took on new meaning and the story is now going well.

It’s funny when you know something isn’t working, but you keep going anyway, just hoping it will change. Now, I’m working on getting back the two chapters of work and finishing up. Since this one will be sent to the editor that wants highlander romances desperately, I’ll be working on the synopsis for the two books that come after it. Yep, I’m submitting for a trilogy. Fingers crossed!!!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…2350462608_44a5fa8914


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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…


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Toes in the Sand Giveaway

toes in the sandBelow are the ways to enter Stephanie’s latest giveaway. It starts now, and ends Wednesday, May 18th at 10:00am. The winner will be given the option to pick any one of her many books as the prize! (this excludes collections) Make sure you are watching so you don’t miss any of the chances to get your name in the drawing.

On top of this over the next 9 days, if she reaches 200 likes on her author Facebook, and every 100 after that until the end of the giveaway, she will have a flash giveaway!