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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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!


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Cinnamon in my coffee…

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Good Friday morning! Yes, I said Friday… Although I’ll work through the weekend trying to finish the tax returns on my desk, I still have a writing deadline looming. But, to keep things exciting, I added cinnamon to my coffee this morning. It’s good, you should try it.

But, now on to my post and the cinnamon is part of it. Adding the cinnamon just gave me a different taste and that’s what I’ve been doing lately. I was given the pleasure of becoming a guest blogger on the site Reading As My Therapy and I’ll be a regular on Melissa’s site. It’s an exciting new place to give authors a voice and place to showcase their work. It’s also available on Facebook, so come by and follow here on WordPress to keep up, but don’t forget to go to Facebook too for a follow.

Here’s the link to my first post: https://melissacl.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/a-light-upon-my-heart/

Things are getting exciting with my writing career and I can’t help but smile at the response to my work. I’ve met so many wonderful people that added cinnamon to my life, in other words, all of you make my life special, just as the added spice to my morning coffee. I thank you from the bottom of my heart…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Reading in bed…

Literature Onboard

It’s finally Friday folks! I can tell you this, thank goodness it’s Friday, but of course, I’ll be working all weekend. At least, it’s a more laid back work situation on the weekend.

How many of you grew up reading in bed? For me, when I was younger, I’d sit in bed and read every night. After my parents told me to turn out the light, I’d pull the covers over my head, with my trusty flashlight, then continue the story that had me spellbound.

I read many different genres back then. Some weeks I’d be hooked on suspense-filled mysteries. Yes, I was a Hardy Boy and Nancy Drew kind of girl. I’d devour them with such a thirst that soon I would be rereading until I could get to the store. It wasn’t like today, I couldn’t just scan and buy on Kindle.

Of course, as I grew older, my nightly reading turned to paranormal, fantasy type books. I’d read books about witches and ghosts. Then I moved to romance, which changed my young life. I would get lost in the romance of the story, the faraway places that the book took me to, it was great.

Everyone gave me books for Christmas, Birthdays, every occasion. I carried a book with me all the time, reading at lunch during school, on the bus, just about everywhere I could. I still have many of the books from my teen years, especially the ones that pulled me in. But they’re yellowing, packed in boxes, ready to be visited again. Often I pull out some of my favorites and read them again, enjoying the thrill of the story and remembering the first time I read it. My collection of Harlequin romances is extensive to say the least.

I still read at night, usually sitting in a warm bath, trying to lose myself for a little while. Some nights when I can’t sleep, I’ll go to the den and curl up in a blanket, then get lost in another story.

The cool thing about my love for books, it fueled the fire to write. I’ve penned books since I was a young teenager and all of this came from reading in my bed at night, usually with a flashlight as the rest of the house slept. Who needed sleep when the heroine was falling in love with the knight in shining armor and needed rescuing?

So, did you read in bed, or maybe you still do…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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Authors are like bees!

2560x1440 Wallpaper bee, flower, pollination, insect

Ok, I know you’re saying, now where is she going with that? Well, let me explain. I was watching a bumblebee buzzing around my flowers and I was thinking about the pollination process. If you think hard about it you’ll get where I’m going with this 🙂

As authors we start with the seed that grows into a flower which of course is our book. Once we’ve completed our work of art we start spreading it everywhere. Then of course other authors or bees in this analogy, spread it to other places and so on and so on. Are you getting the picture?

Of course we do want to make sure to cross pollinate too. We need to work together as authors and helps other authors promote. It’s a win, win. Have you noticed that we do a lot of promoting on other authors sites and them on ours? I was asked by a non writer once why we do that and I laughed. I told them it may sound crazy, but it still gets our name out there.

We all have followers that read what we post. Then of course if we recommend a book they’ll go over and check it out, then also when we cross pollinate, the original author gets more views from the other authors followers. It may sound confusing, but it’s really quite simple. It’s like a pyramid, but legal. 

So, have you cross pollinated lately? Don’t forget about Romancing September Across The World will start Septemeber 1st. I’ll be posting more in the next week regarding it. But I’ll tell you this, we’ve got 30 awesome authors involved and it’s going to be a great chance to do some pollinating, ummm…. you know what I mean, sharing 🙂

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

For more info:

http://rosieamber.wordpress.com/romancing-september-tour/

Also, the countdown is getting close for Safe In The Pirate’s Arms…


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Patriotic Sale on Amazon!

Sorry I’ve been away for a couple of days, but I’m back and ready for action. I spent a couple of days with family and friends celebrating the 4th by the lake. But now I’m back in full force and working hard to keep up with everything.

I do hope you had a great holiday and for my many friends across the pond, I hope you had a wonderful weekend. In honor of our American holiday and for all those that have fought for our freedom I’m marking all my books down to .99 for the month of July on Amazon only.

Also, my book With All My Heart has remained in the top 100 on Amazon for the last two weeks. I’m so pleased and excited. Now back to the writing. I have a pirate and a southern belle breathing down my neck. I’ll give you a little tidbit from both books this week so be watching for it and also may have a little something special to giveaway.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Excitement and Tears…

I know I’ve already posted my normal daily post, but just had to do this one. It’s a separate post because this one is on my life.

Yesterday was an awesome day at Church. Well, any day at Church can be awesome, you just have to be open to it. But yesterday was above the normal bar. We had a Easter Cantata. For those of you who don’t know what that is, well it’s a music driven play. The Church Praise Band performed several songs and we had video’s to go with them and a speaker in the background. It went really well, and yes I cried. I know you’re not surprised. I’ve always been open to the fact that I cry easily. I’m emotional what can I say and especially when it comes to my Faith.

The second most important thing was two of my wonderful children from the Children’s Ministry were saved last week and they went down front yesterday to make their choice public. Yep, I cried again 🙂 It’s so awesome when children make that most important decision. It makes my job so rewarding. I’m always in awe of how the Lord works in such young lives.

Then since we had rain yesterday, the annual easter egg hunt was held inside in the sanctuary. I was worried about how it would go, but I shouldn’t have been. It went off without a hitch and the children had a blast.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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While looking through the attic…

Saturday afternoon I ventured into my attic which is taking your life in your own hands. I’m, how would you say it, a pack rat. I confess, it’s a thing I inherited. When I was younger I had a book issue. I’d buy books everywhere I went. Needles to say I have a lot of books. Yes actual physical books. You remember those right?

I noticed that the pasteboard boxes that contained my books were looking a little worse for wear. So I had some extra plastic bins so I decided to take on the task of going through my books and putting them neatly in the bins. It was like a journey through my history. I laughed as I went through the different types of romance genres I’ve gone through in my 44 years. I love history, so I went through a rather lengthy historical romance stage. Everything I bought was a historical romance.

There are a couple of books that I hold close to my heart and have been known to reread several times. One of those was a book named “Violet Fire” by Jo Goodman that was published around 1987. It’s an awesome romance. It’s actually the second copy of that book I’ve owned. The first one I let an old family member borrow it. She passed away not long after that and the book never resurfaced. Not sure what happened there. I was lucky to find a copy a couple of years later in a second hand book store. You would have thought I’d found the Ark of the Covenant. I squealed and danced. Needless to say I was happy.

Well, I thought I’d lost it again as I couldn’t find it a couple years ago when I wanted to read it again. I thought I was just destined to not get to read it again. I picked up one of the boxes at the bottom of the stack and guess what, there it was with a couple of other books I thought I’d lost. I let out a whoop and my son came to the bottom of the attic steps. I assured him that I was fine and did a little silent dance. I’ve read every small moment I had. Funny how your hand cramps when trying to hold an actual book. I love it… My Kindle feels a little left out, but it will get some loving real soon.

It’s crazy how you find a book that you love and you just have to read it every once in a while. If you ever find this book on Amazon or in a book store I suggest reading it. It’s rather lengthy, but really good. I like Jo Goodman’s writing and this is one of my favorites.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you!


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Reflecting by the fire…

 

It’s a brisk, sunny southern morning here in Georgia. I’m enjoying my coffee while sitting by a cozy fire. A nice way to start my Saturday morning. My husband took our son fishing, so I’ve got the whole afternoon to work on cleaning the house, my manuscript and relaxing.

 

I woke this morning with a fresh new feeling. I feel like my writing muse is back. Hopefully it will continue so that I can finish “Rekindled Flame”.

 

This morning a whole new manuscript crossed my mind as I lay in bed not wanting to get out of the warmth of the blankets. The only problem is I have to finish the one that is on schedule and I have about eight more started. Funny how the writing mind works. One minute you’re only thinking about a manuscript and the next you’re working on eight at one time.

 

Well, as for me, I’m glad for the escape that my writing gives me. Sometimes in this busy world we need that to get by and other times we need it just to manage our stressful lives. Through my writing I can ride horses, run a ranch, go to exotic locations, and pretty much live out my fantasies. Don’t worry, nothing crazy, just a country girls dreams.

 

So, I hope this post finds all of you well, happy and content. Remember to never give up on your dreams because you only live once, so live the way God intended you to live through Him.

 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You!

 


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Writer’s frame of mind

What’s up with my writer’s brain? The book “Rekindled Flame” that was supposed to be completed in December is still in the process. What started out to be a novella has turned out to be a novella on steroids. It’s funny how you think you know how the manuscript will go and then all of a sudden you’re going into a more advanced manuscript.

Got to rant for a moment on reviews. As I’ve said before reviews rarely make me upset, but I’ve received a couple that seem to be from the same person. It’s like a reviewer stalker. They’re appearing on all my books and say basically the same thing. What’s funny is the review does not fit the book. I’m not sure what the reviewer is trying to accomplish, but I do know that they need to actually read the book so that the review at least matches. I don’t get mad or upset about ugly, nasty reviews, but I don’t appreciate just downright vicious ones that come from a person that evidently never read the book to begin with. Oh, well, enough of that. Whew, got that off my chest. Now I feel lot’s better 🙂

Was pleasantly surprised when a delivery was made yesterday. It was my newest novel. I ordered copies for giveaways and family. It was “The Winner Is Love”. It’s so exciting to hold your work in your hand. Seeing them on the internet and computer screen is one thing, but to actually hold it in your hand is so rewarding. I was very pleased with the cover. My editor designs my covers and she’s awesome. She get’s exactly what I want and totally blows me away with the finished product.

Well, it’s Friday and school started back today for my son. It was a wonderful Christmas break. We spent some good mama-son time together. It was sad to put him on the bus this morning. The house is so quiet without him playing his drums (Santa had a brain issue). Well, it’s back to normal in the office and tax season has begun.

As usual, good writing and May God Bless You!