Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Don’t rush it… Patience needed!

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What a dreary Monday! Monday’s are a struggle, but when you wake up to rain and bone chilling cold, well, it puts you in the wrong mood. So, let’s talk patience. LOL! Yep, that word that we’ve forgotten existed…

Patience by definition is the ability to take things in stride, not rush into something, without getting upset. In other words, even though you want to do something so badly that you hit the start button before you have everything ready. And that’s where you get into trouble.

Here’s what the Bible says: Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

And I know how hard it is to be patient, especially when you have a new release coming. Here’s an example: You’ve finished your current work in progress, but you need to edit, then send to your editor for more edits, then add those new edits, market for the new release, make sure the cover is ready, etc… You get the point. But the problem with all of this is that it takes time to do all of this, and all of this is important. If you jump into the pot before the grease is hot, well, you’ll just end up soggy.

It’s like putting a puzzle together. You can’t rush to the last piece without putting all of the other pieces together first. It’s impossible, so you have to patiently put the other pieces together. The same with publishing a book. One step at a time…

So, here’s my advice and believe me, I’ve been there and done that. Make sure to check all the boxes before you hit submit. You wouldn’t publish to Amazon before you had a cover, would you? Then don’t publish before you’ve got the steps completed in order to put out the best book you possibly can.

Patience is something we have to work on. Me included. If you feel like you’ve just got to do something, then start on the next project and market like crazy for the one you’re about to release. But make it right the first time and the patience will pay off.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Organizing your Published works…

It’s another cool morning here in Georgia, but I’m warm and cozy under my blanket with my laptop. Today we’re discussing how to organize your published works. You may be asking what I mean, well, let me enlighten you.

With over 50 published books, sometimes I get lost in where every book is already published. I can’t remember which book is on which platform. Organization is needed even if you only put your books on one platform. So, here is what I do…

Platform Organization

First, I sit down and make a spreadsheet. The header includes all of the platforms that my books are on. The first column lists all of my books. This way I can mark off the books that are already on certain platforms. And this also helps when republishing older works with new covers. Doing this, I don’t miss out on having my books everywhere.

The moment I started working with this spreadsheet, I realized that I was missing several platforms for some of my books. This is missed opportunity, so everyday I work on at least one platform, updating files and getting my books everywhere.

 PublishedAmazonKUB&NKoboAppleSmashAudibleGoogle
5 Oaks Ranch Series         
Ridge         
Oakley         
Chase         
Luke         
Maggie         
A Christmas to Remember         
5O Collection          

Book Organization

Now, you may be asking how this is different. Book organization is a spreadsheet similar to the above one, but this one is book formats. In this one, I just copy the previous spreadsheet and change the header. In the header I input Ebook, Print, Audio, Front Cover, Back Cover, Blurb, and Publish date.

This has helped me to keep up with what needs to be done for each book. It’s like a checks and balances, but for books.

 outlinecharacterfrontebookblurbexerptprintbackspine
5 Oaks Ranch Series         
Ridge         
Oakley         
Chase         
Luke         
Maggie         
A Christmas to Remember         
5O Collection          

I do hope this helps you in some way. It’s helped me a lot.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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5 things every author needs to know…

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Good morning! Writing… Writers block… Publishing… The life of a writer. It’s a roller coaster and not for the faint of heart. Here are the top 5 things every author needs to know about starting to write and publish…

  1. It’s not as easy as it looks. Let me be very clear about this, writing isn’t easy. There’s more to it than simply writing words. You’ve got to make sure to plot, plan, and organize those words to where the reader can get lost in the world you’ve created. If you don’t do it with an ebb and flow, then the reader will lose interest and move on. So, don’t think it’s just putting words on paper. There’s so much more to the process.
  2. Writer’s block is real! Every author has experienced writer’s block at one time or the other. It’s a helpless feeling and only perseverance gets you through it. You can get past it, just have confidence. Keep writing and working on other projects.
  3. Editor’s are essential. Alright, let’s all say this and put on repeat! Editors are essential. Even the most savvy writer can’t find all of the mistakes or bad wording in a manuscript. To be honest, editors miss some too. But let’s be honest, when we’re reading our own work, it’s hard to be completely harsh. An editor can help to reword things so that the story flows better. And some changes, even though they can hurt, are necessary.
  4. Read everyday… It may sound crazy, but reading actually helps you as a writer. But read in the genre that you write in. I’ve been reading books that the author wrote with such clear, precise wording that I was inspired. And I’ve read books that lost me from the first page. When I read things like this, it helps me to look at my work differently. Try it.
  5. Know your audience. If you write sweet romance, then don’t go too heavy on the love scenes. Advertising a book as one genre, but the book actually leaning more in another direction can make readers not trust you. So, know who you’re pushing this book to. The same with mysteries turning into nothing more than a romance with nothing to solve. I’ve read books like this and it is disheartening. Also, make sure if the book is erotic, let the reader know.

I could keep going, but you need to get back to writing and so do I. But I hope this helped you a little.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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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!