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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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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Coming soon – Embracing the Flames!

Good morning everyone. I’ve met some awesome people through this blog and my writing. This post is dedicated to the coming release of “Embracing the Flame” the 2nd in the “Born in Flames” Trilogy by my sweet friend Candace Knoebel. The first book was “Born In Flames”.

So, with much awaited intensity, here’s a little look at “Embracing the Flame” the cover and description.

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The Stone of Immortality has been protected under the watch of the Draconta for as long as time has existed. That is, until the betrayal of a Fate. Now everything is about to change.

Aurora Megalos accepted her destiny without blinking-even if it meant succumbing to her dragon side. Deemed the Progeny, she left the ordinary life she knew and has done everything in her power to learn the ways of her new realm and what it means to be part dragon. But when her mentor, Astral, suddenly disappears, she is forced to take the reins. With war on the brink, she sets out on an epic journey to not only find her mentor, but to stop her Arch Enemy, Zordon, from attaining the Stone of Immortality. But what she discovers about him along the way is far worse than she could’ve ever imagined. She will be tested and pushed to the limit. Lives will be lost, love will be questioned, and a battle will begin.

Wow, after that fantastic cover and description, I’m sold. As soon as the release date is known it will be posted, but for now the waiting game starts.

So go on over to http://candaceknoebel.wordpress.com and show your interest.

 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You!


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“Rekindled Flame” Release date Monday February 25th

Image Oh yeah, if you’re wondering, yes I lived through the IRS audit on my client. It took 6 hours and ten years off my life 🙂 I did manage a compliment by the auditor on my accounting and my thoroughness. But it’s over and done. Found nothing to complain about. YESSSSSS.

Now to more important matters at hand. Monday, February 25th my novel “Rekindled Flames” the 2nd in the Flames of Love series is finally officially going to be released. I’m super duper excited 🙂 Life has really gotten in the way of this release, not to mention those pesky other books that just kept vying for my attention :0

So to all my blog friends, if anyone would like to help with the promotion of my newest release just let me know and I’d be very appreciative. I do return the favor by the way.

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!


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Polishing it up!

When you start a new manuscript your mind is on the content. Which it should be, but there comes a time when you have to polish the writing. A time to create a cover that will represent your words.

A big polish is the editing. Is it important? Well, yes. If you just write the book and publish it without going back over it, that would be writers suicide. I’ve found throughout my short writing experience that the first read through after finishing a manuscript usually prompts changes, additional wording and even total chapter eliminations. It can really open your eyes for character changes and minor tweaks.

After the editing is done, are you happy? If you are like a lot of writer you may never be completely happy with your work. I know I’m my worst critic. I over analyse my work. Even after it is published I’m constantly saying “I wish I would have written that part differently.” My editor just shakes her head and laughs at me. I can’t help it, I can be a worrier.

Then you have the almost impossible task of writing a paragraph that will sum up the whole book. How on earth do you describe your book in just a couple of words? This is harder than writing the whole book. If you don’t say just the right thing will people even give it a second look? Will you be able to express the real feeling of the way the book should be perceived? The next time you read the back of a book, remember the author had only so many words to describe their whole piece of work, don’t judge a book by it’s description.

Also, sometimes don’t judge a book by it’s cover. When you select your cover art you have to put into one cover the whole feeling of the book. If you write romance you have to express a feeling pulled from the book into the cover. If you write horror you have to put some of the fear into the cover to pull in the reader. But you have to be careful not to show the end results of the book. You have to leave some mystery.

Well, that’s just a few of my writing ramblings. Maybe some of this helped you, maybe not. It’s just the opinions of one writer.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you!


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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 😉 ) 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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Today’s the Day! It’s Published! Finally!

I know I haven’t made a post in a couple of days. I’ve had a personal issue that had my mind completely in a fog. I finally got with my editor yesterday and the edits are finished and the last word is done. My Christmas novel is finished and the publishing starts today. It should be on Amazon late this evening or in the morning. It will be available on Smashwords today. I’m excited.

When my editor finished the final reading she turned and look at me with a look of anger. I thought she didn’t like it. The look was actually disbelief. She said I did it again, I left her hanging, because this is part 1 of 2 parts. I held that part from her to get the look that she gave me.

So, I hope it’s well received by my readers. It was a labor of love. The story just hit me a couple of months ago and I put the other manuscripts I was working on to the side to finish it. Now on the “Rekindled Flames” the 2nd in the “Flames of Love” series. It’s the continuation of “Tender Flames”. It will be a New Year’s Love Story.

As always good writing and May God Bless and Keep you.