Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Time? Who has Time?

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Time… it flies by without stopping… never ceasing. So how do we fit it all in? I’m often asked how I fit writing into my busy schedule with running my accounting office, being a wife and mom, being a children’s minister, life, reading, researching, among other things that fill my days. Well, some days it’s not easy.

How do I keep up with my word count and publish on time? I have a schedule of word counts, but that doesn’t mean that I make that count every day. Some days I don’t even type a word, but guess what, that just builds it up to the next day and so on… My daily word counts during tax season are low, but they add up quickly when I don’t meet my daily count.

So, how do you stretch your time? How do you fit it all in? I have some advice on that very subject. This is advice that I ignored years ago, but now I take it very seriously. Make a schedule and a list of what needs to be done daily. That seems easy, huh, but it’s not on most days. So what do I mean?

Here’s how I schedule my week. Sit down on Sunday afternoon and look at the week ahead. Look at meetings on the calendar, work that needs to be completed, deadlines, and anything else that comes into the week. Then prioritize the items that don’t have a specific set time, like meetings.

With tax returns and accounting, I look at deadlines for the week first, don’t forget to look ahead to the deadlines for the next week too. Then I sit down at my desk and make a list for each day. I number each task, start with the most important daily task, then work my way down. I know how many tax returns I can do a day, then I separate them and bind together each day’s work. That way I accomplish what I need to accomplish and meet my deadlines. But remember, if it’s not important to finish this week, don’t waste valuable time trying to fit it in. Put it on the next week’s schedule. That way you’re only accomplishing this week’s needs.

What about writing? This is where it gets tricky. If my day is filled with appointments and I have to work later than usual, well, my writing time suffers. I use the time after my hubby and son leave for work and school. I sit down with my coffee and write. If I’m behind on my count, well no blog that day and I don’t check social media until I’ve caught up on the count. That’s hard to do. A couple of days this week, I wrote when I came in for lunch. That helped too. (But now I need to clean the crumbs from my keyboard!) Also, I make my Saturday word count higher than my weekday, but only when I’m behind.

I know, you’re sitting back going, wow, she’s so organized, but don’t get the wrong idea. My life is always disorganized in one way or another. Like last night, I wanted to write at least 1000 words, but my brain just wouldn’t cooperate, so I read for an hour, which helped my brain to calm a little, but then it was time to go to bed, so I have an extra 1000 words to add to today. By the way, I need to get back to the writing.

How do you stretch your time? Don’t forget to schedule in some ‘me time’. It’s important to your sanity…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

A little note, Ridge is finally free on Amazon!Β http://www.amazon.com/Ridge-Five-Oaks-Ranch-Book-ebook/dp/B00TFOPOFI


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Out of focus…

I’ve been out of touch for a day or two with a sick 14 year old. Hopefully the antibiotics he started last night will kick this sinus and ear infection in the back side.

Have you ever been writing and then all of a sudden you’re head is out of focus. Maybe you can’t seem to get the wording right. I’ve had that problem for a couple of days. I’m almost finished with “Victoria”, but for some reason my head is fuzzy. Could be the sinus medication I’m taking or the fact I have a sick teenager. The funny thing is I can picture the story in my head, but the words get jumbled when I try to type them.

I’ve even tried going back and editing the previous chapters. Maybe that would spur me on. No such luck. Maybe this is just a classic case of writer’s block. Wish the block would disappear and let me get finished before the story makes my head explode. That too could be from the sinus medication.

Ever tried writing while on Nyquil. Try it sometimes. My advice is to go back the next day and edit the mess you made the night before πŸ™‚

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…

Interesting Article to check out:Β 

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/six-easy-tips-for-self-editing-your-fiction/


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Writing the right ending…

What do you do when you get down to the last chapters? At this point you need to building up for the end, but how?

As I work on the ending of my newest book, I ponder this question. Just as my last novel, “The Winner Is Love” I wonder, is this the end? Well with that one it wasn’t. I didn’t know it when I started writing it. I had plan a simple, sweet Christmas romance that would end at the words The End. But guess what, as with any writer I had to listen to my characters and my heart told me their story is not done.

My newest book is the 2nd book in a series and I don’t know whether I want it to continue. But if I don’t continue it, how do I end it? Do the lovers ride off in the sunset never to be heard from again? Do I kill them off in a lovers quarrel? What am I saying? I can’t kill them off, that would be murder.

The ending of a book can be as important, or even more important than the beginning. I’ve read books before that the ending left me baffled. Some have left me angry and others ready for more. If you are planning a next book, you have to leave the reader wanting more. You have to give just enough information to keep them hooked for the next book. If you’re ending it there, you need to make the ending mean something. If you end the book wrong, will the reader want to read anything else from you.

I have to admit that I’ve read some books that the ending made me so upset that I didn’t have the heart to read the authors list of other books written. I just couldn’t do that to myself. You know how it is when you’re watching a movie and the main character that you’ve fell in love with dies in the last scene and bam, that’s it. Finished, the end, done! Makes you want to throw something at the TV. Books can make you want to throw your Kindle.

What do you like in an ending? Do you like the explosive ending, where you are just floored? Do you like the sweet, tender ending where you just melt and have to sit quietly for a moment and reflect? (Maybe that’s just me πŸ˜‰ ) Or do you like the nail biter ending where you get left hanging on the edge of the cliff? Let me know your thoughts. I love to hear what everyone thinks.

 

As always, good writing and May God Bless you!end


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Letting Characters take over…

OK, so as I often do, today I muse over writing. I spend a lot of my time fighting with my characters. They seem to have minds of their own. If you’re not a writer, you probably think I need the men with the straight jackets. Well, maybe I do need a straight jacket. πŸ˜‰ But as a writer this is a real fear. If you let them take over, what will happen?

As I’ve told you before, I have another new book coming out in the next week. This one is my New Year’s romance which is the 2nd part to “Tender Flames”. Well, since I was under the weather last week, I got way behind in the manuscript. As I tapped on the keys last night, one of the characters took over the writing process. I had a planned way this book would end, but guess what. As one of the characters evolved in the story, she took over the ending and totally blew it out of the water.

So my question is this, Do we as writers need to let the characters launch a hostile takeover, or do we take back control? Basically if we take over, are we hurting the story? As I sat and let the character take over, I realized maybe she had a point.

Ok, so maybe it’s my brain that does the takeover. Or maybe it’s my heart. As most of you know I love romance and anything about it. Maybe the story didn’t have enough romance or maybe it had too much. But as the story goes, I was pleased with the end results. If all goes well, the story will be ready by the end of the week. Most of the early edits have been completed and the cover is awesome.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you!

 

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Books…Books…Where from here?

I’m in a whirling dervish and can’t seem to stop it. Well it started like this. I had 12 different manuscripts started. A little over ambitious I know, but sometimes an idea comes to me in the middle of the night and I just have to write it down. Well it goes down hill from there, but I usually have a couple of chapters written before I know it. Then another manuscript catches my brain and I go back to it.

I had an idea for a Christmas novel. It kept poking me in the brain begging for release. I had to let it out. What else could I do? Well I put the others aside and started that one. I promised the others I’d return real soon. Well, then I decided that the 2nd book in the “Flames of Love” series would be a New Year’s book also. Thank goodness that one was already in the works.

As I worked on “The Winner Is Love” which is the Christmas novel, it occurred to me that these characters could not just go away at Christmas. Yep, here we go again, there will be a part two. My brain has it in for me. It is determined to make me insane. I’ve got only a couple of modifications on this one and it will go out this week. Maybe I need one of those gadgets that you speak into and it types what you say. But the catch would be to talk to one computer and type on the other. Boy that would turn out terrible wouldn’t it. My brain can only really do one thing at a time. Never could chew gum and walk, sad but true.

As always, good writing, stay sane, and May God Bless you…


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Black Friday! Not Me!

Ok, so I’m not sure if other countries have Black Friday Sales, but in America people go nuts. Why? I don’t like to shop on a regular day, I’m sure not going to go on the day 95% of America is too… People camp out at stores waiting for them to open the doors at or before daylight on Black Friday. That’s if they didn’t go right after filling up with turkey and dressing to the stores that opened on Thanksgiving night.

How on earth can you get your mind wrapped around Christmas shopping when you are miserable from eating so much? It amazes me how many people live for Black Friday. I guess I’m just weird, but I don’t like shopping and especially standing in line.

As for me, I shop online. Cyber Monday I will sitting at my laptop clicking away. All I have to do is find what I want and then click checkout. No lines, no angry people snatching items out of your hands, and no driving anywhere. I can shop in the comfort of my own home, sitting with a cup of coffee, just enjoying the Christmas season.

So, now that I’m done with my Black Friday rant, hope everyone is pleasantly full from their Thanksgiving meal. As always, good luck writing (remember November is almost over) and May God Bless you…


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Laugh, it’s Friday!

Hello fellow bloggers. It’s Friday. Had you noticed? Did you forget? Well, I woke up and smiled. It’s Friday and the weekend officially starts in a couple of hours.

Have you laughed lately? I’m not talking about that snicker or pretend laugh when someone tells you a stupid joke. I’m talking about a outright, stomach clenching laugh. Well if you haven’t then try it. It helps you feel better. It clears the mind and makes way for positive thinking. Studies show that laughter helps people heal faster. I don’t know much about that, but I do know it helps you feel better.

As a children’s minister I laugh a lot. Children can just bring on laughter just being themselves. Sometimes I get to class on Wednesday or Sunday with a splitting headache and soon I’m feeling better. I contribute it to laughter.

Try to laugh today. Don’t take things so seriously. You only live once and you need to enjoy it. It also helps your writing and during November a lot of people are on a writing marathon. If you don’t have anything to laugh about, go to the internet and find a joke site or youtube video. See if you don’t feel better after you have that healthy side splitting laugh.

Well, as always, good writing, have a good laugh and May God always bless you!

For those in the north that are still having issues from Sandy, try to laugh. I know that you don’t have a lot to laugh about, but it couldn’t hurt to just laugh. It might give you some hope or extra energy. Not to mention it will warm your body against the cold. Praying for all of you!