Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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When you cry at the end…

Good morning! I’m a little emotional this morning. I typed THE END on the Mistletoe Ranch Series late last night. To say I’m sad to see these characters go away is an understatement. This has been one of those series that totally filled me with joy.

Today marks the first day after the Mistletoe Ranch. That may sound strange, but to a writer, it’s all too clear. You spend almost everyday with these characters and it’s surreal when they no longer fill your writing time.

But as with anything, you step away and start a new manuscript. So, I say goodbye to Denver and Maddy, but maybe one day I’ll revisit them. You never know, I am a writer and we’re a different people. We love our characters fiercely and have a hard time letting go of them.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Release date: January 29th!

Preorder now. Starting this afternoon it will be only .99 for a limited time!


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Monday Thoughts and Coffee…

Photo by Olenka Sergienko on Pexels.com

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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Podcast coming…

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Yes, you heard me right. I took the Podcast plunge. The Coffee & A Good Book podcast will be up and going soon. I’ll keep all of you updated. I’m excited and nervous, all at the same time. Being in front of the camera is out of my comfort zone, way out of it. But in front of the microphone, I feel a little less intimidated. We’ll see how it goes.

The podcast will feature author interviews, book reviews, lots of coffee talk, NO POLITICS, romance talks, writing talk, and more book talk than you can get through a short podcast… If you’ve followed my blog for very long, you know how much I love writing, books and coffee. So, this made me want to keep the talk going, but this time in a different format.

Keep watching for the release date. I can’t wait to connect with everyone.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Just Let It Go…

Can you believe it’s a week until Thanksgiving? This year is flying by and in my opinion, that could be a good thing. It’s been a crazy year!

Just Let It Go…

It’s the same with writing. If you have a story line that keeps bugging you, then let it go. As in, let it go where it needs to. Most writers will tell you that if a story starts in your brain, it will drive you crazy until you do something with it.

Now, it’s not to say that some of the ideas that come through your head are publish worthy. If I had a dollar for every story idea I had that flopped before the first chapter was done, well, let’s just say, I’d be in a good position. Sometimes though, it’s hard to Just Let It Go…

Don’t waste your time on stories that don’t go far. You need to focus on those stories that can go the distance. As I said in an earlier post, make sure that your story can make it through plotting and scene set up. Then, you’ll have a story to publish.

If not, then Just Let It Go…

In life sometimes we have to Just Let It Go…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

P.S. Wine, Wedding, And The Cowboy is coming out December 4th, so preorder now! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08DF9JC3V/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i25

Release Date: December 4, 2020


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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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Cowboys, Pirates, and other heroes…

Have you noticed a trend lately? Of course, as you know, I have no problem with the Cowboy or Pirate heroes, as I write mostly about Cowboys and Pirates. But it’s funny the interest in these types of leading men.

But with that being said, why is it so popular in the romance genre? I don’t see a lot of cowboy heroes on movies or pirate heroes for that matter. It’s as though romance readers need that masculine persona that follows a cowboy or pirate.

On the side of the cowboy, there’s the fact that they’re usually strong from working the ranch all day. So that’s a plus for a hero. Then, of course, they can ride in on their horse and save the day, or truck, whatever the scene might need. A fictional cowboy is usually honor bound and very protective which lends a good lead male character. Don’t forget that handy Stetson to keep the sun out.

Now we can’t leave out the Pirate, good or bad, they make a great male lead character. Of course, they command a ship, which means they are a take charge man. A good pirate can take care of his heroine and lead his ship through the worst storm without batting an eye. Then you have the bad pirate, but you can have them turn good pirate, which usually takes a strong heroine to take care of that task. Don’t forget the attire of a pirate. I always think of ‘Jack Sparrow’ or ‘Will Turner’, yes, I’m a Pirates of the Caribbean fan.

There are so many hero types that lead to a good romance. Don’t forget the law officer coming to the rescue, the firefighter saving the lady from the fire or even the country boy that’s not quite a cowboy, but has polite values and that protective gene.

So, who makes a good hero for you?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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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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Writing Fun…

It’s finally Friday… hope you have an awesome weekend planned. My son is out of school for 10 days so I’m happy to spend time with him.

As for writing, do you have fun with it? Me, yes I love to write. It’s a big part of me that get’s to flow from my fingers daily. Some days I struggle when something is on my mind, but I still enjoy it. Writing is a stress reliever, which is great therapy for me.

I’ve heard writers say that writing isn’t fun, it’s just something they have to do. What? I just don’t understand that frame of mind at all. For me, writing is fun and I think it’s what helps me stay sane in this insane world we live in. After a busy day, I can sit down at my laptop and lose myself. Even if it’s just an hour or so, but it helps clear my head.

Don’t forget all the fun of meeting such wonderful people, other writers, bloggers and reviewers. Then you have the great fans that fill your inbox with wonderful words that make you want to write even more. It’s a wonderful life, the life of a writer.

Writing is fun, if you don’t think it’s fun, then maybe you need to get lost in it for a minute, then rethink it.

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