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! http://www.amazon.com/Ridge-Five-Oaks-Ranch-Book-ebook/dp/B00TFOPOFI

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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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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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Back up and refreshed!

Well, thanks to my brilliant computer guy I’m back up and running with a totally refreshed computer. I spent last night reinstalling all my programs and back ups. I always worry when doing this because I don’t want to lose any information. It’s amazing how attached we get to technology.

As for my writing, I was unable to get any done last night and I wanted to so badly. As I sat waiting on Office to reinstall my mind was whirling with characters that were screaming in my ears. I even dreamed I was on a pirate ship. 

I’m excited to report that the republished version of With All My Heart is still doing well. It’s now in the top 20 on Amazon. What’s funny is the original version is free on Amazon and is at #8. How crazy is that? All of my books have started hitting again. I guess it’s true if you get a bestseller then you hit the right algorithim on Amazon. It’s been refreshing to say the least.

As I sit here watching Lonesome Dove and sipping my coffee I’m content, for now. Of course now I have to put my books on this computer. My fingers are itchy and ready to get back to work. If you’re wondering why I’m watching Lonesome Dove so early this morning, well it’s one of my favorite cowboy movies. I recorded it a couple of nights ago, It was my dad’s favorite too. We used to watch it everytime it came on. 

Of course watching all these cowboys and horses makes me ready to start my newest cowboy romance, but no, I’m going to be strong and finish Emma Rose and Safe In The Pirate’s Arms. At least Emma Rose has horses in it. I’m a country girl, what can I say.

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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Romance…

Romance is so elusive and sometimes hard to find unless you’re reading it in a novel. That’s the comment I hear so often. I don’t believe this state of mind that many people have. Romance can be found, lost, and revived. Still a skeptic?

Romance has been around since the first day of creation. Some people search for it as they would gold in the hills. Sometimes you have it and just don’t see it at all. It’s that simple touch from your lover that sends tiny tendrils of goosebumps up your spine. It’s that simple look of pleasure that you share across the table.

Have you ever wondered where romance hides? Everyone has a moment when you think romance has gone away. Maybe it’s when finances are bad, tragedy looms, or when a marriage fails. Romance is still there, we just as humans put it behind our heart and refuse at times to pull it out again.

As a romance writer I try to bring romance into everyone’s heart. It’s one of the biggest sellers today, romance. Everyone wants it, but what lengths will they go to? Some will spend a fortune buying gifts to show romance, but true romance can’t be bought. It’s a part of you. A kiss is free, a look is free and a touch is free. Give it a try. You might enjoy finding a little romance.

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!