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…

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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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What’s your favorite writing season?

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It’s the first day of Fall! Fall is one of my favorite seasons. The beauty is bountiful and then there’s pumpkin spice. Yeah, I know, I’m obsessed with pumpkin spice, but it’s so good…

Anyhoo, for some reason, my writing brain goes nuts in the Fall. Maybe it’s the cooler temperatures or the feeling in the air. I just know I write faster and more in the Fall, it’s crazy but true.

So, what’s your favorite writing season? Why?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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www.stephaniehurtauthor.com

 


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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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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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A Writer’s Brain…

A writer’s brain is a little different from just anyone’s brain. We have an extra chromosome or two in the ‘make it up’ zone of our brain. A writer’s brain is constantly thinking about the next scene in the book, the cover design, a character flaw, etc. You get the picture. Our brains are on overload most of the time.

For example: I road with my son to pick up breakfast yesterday. As we headed home with the breakfast and coffee my mind was reeling with storylines. Then the smell of the coffee hit me and my mind went to a whole different storyline. What’s up with that? 

Now, I’ve had several stories come into my head that didn’t really pan out. They kind of fizzled out after the first thought. But the problem with that is the story still roams around in my head trying to gain a little extra thought. One of those stories just recently went through my head and now it’s actually a finished book. “Safe in the Pirate’s Arms” was just one of those stories. I’ve been playing with the thought for a while, but it never really seemed to work itself out. Then one day it found it’s legs and my brain ran with it.

Again, I have to say a writer’s brain is a little different. One writer joked on social media the other day about someone that wronged her and she turned it around to a murder mystery. I had to giggle because as a writer we can take care of those people that bother us, but we do it differently. We take care of it through fiction, not action. It’s a way to get rid of it and go on to another story. Having a writer’s brain can be useful in that way, right?

The only problem is, some days my brain doesn’t go quiet at bedtime. I’ve spoken about this several times as it is a constant. But of course I do have writer’s block from time to time and would love to have those moments back. I had one of those moments on Saturday and if you follow my blog faithfully you know that’s one of my favorite times to write. I had it all scheduled out. I planned on getting Emma Rose fleshed out, but guess what, a wall of pain was erected and I spent the morning nursing a headache that refused to let creativity in. I did get in several romantic movies, I guess you could say I did research of sorts.

Do you have a writer’s brain? Can you look at something and a story unfolds? If so, put it in print. Get it out there, you never know, it could be the next big thing…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Authors are like bees!

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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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Romance and the world today…

It’s crazy how things are changing in the world of romance. I remember racy romance novels being sold in back rooms or passed under tables and kept hidden. Now they’re mainstream. The first romance I read enlightened me to a world of romance and made it hard to look back. I moved forward and read easily thousands of romances through the years.

But the one thing that stayed true was the romance. Whether it’s a racy, wild romance or a sweet Christian romance, the one thing is that romance is romance. It may be portrayed in many different ways but when you get to the bottom of the pot it’s still the same. Romance is a part of being that stays the same through the generations, it’s just the way we put it out there.

I guess that’s why romance novels are the most popular fiction out there. People are drawn to it in droves. Back years ago you wouldn’t have looked at a romance author twice. Now they’re on the bestsellers lists and getting the respect they’ve earned for so many years.

I’m proud to call myself a romance author. I don’t have anything to hide or shy away from. I write from the heart and if you don’t like it, then that’s your opinion. Romance isn’t for everyone, but it’s what I like and what I love to write. So do what you like and write in the genre that makes you happy.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Saturday Writing…

What’s your best day to write? For me, I like to write on Saturdays. It’s quiet, no business to take care of and usually have the house to my self. Today I’m working on a couple of pivotal scenes in Emma Rose and Safe in the Pirate’s Arms. Hopefully one or the other or maybe both will be available in the next week or so.

I’ve learned a lot about writing in the last two years. It’s not as easy as it looks. So many people tell me that one day they’ll write something because it looks so easy. I just smile and wish them luck. Some days it’s easier than others, but the writing is only part of it. There’s so much more to it. 

Writing consists of many parts. First you have to get the idea down. But some ideas don’t pan out to actual books. Amazingly enough, I’ve had so many ideas for books, but after a page or two the story fizzled out. It has to have depth enough to hold up the story line for several chapters or it will just collapse in on itself.

Of course after it’s written, you have to edit, then reedit then edit again. Don’t forget the cover and blurb. The blurb is the hardest part for me, even though it consists of only a few words. I’d rather write a 100,000 word book in a weekend than to sit down and write a blurb. One is impossible and the other is nerve wrenching.

Then of course, whether you go with a traditional publisher or you self publish, the promotional part of writing is never ending. It’s the promotional effort that get’s you out there. If you stop promoting for a week, then you can fall behind.

As I said, writing is not so easy. But for some reasons Saturdays make it easier.

As always, good writing and may God bless you…