Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Monday Thoughts & Coffee By the Fire…

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Good Monday morning! I hope that you’re staying warm wherever you are this morning. It’s cold in Georgia and looks to be a dreary day with cold, icy rain. Burrrrr…. I’m sitting by the fireplace, wrapped in my fuzzy blanket, sipping coffee and writing.

So, here’s my Monday thought as I drink my coffee and get my eyes open. What length of book do you like to read or write? Do you love a long, 50K or more book, or a quick read of less than 25K?

Here are my thoughts on the length of a book that I read or write for that matter. I’ve heard from fans that say they love the longer ones, then others love the shorter ones that I write. It’s hard to know what will be the best length based on fans wants.

Now, if I’m picking up a book to read, it’s entirely up to my mood. If I’m kicking back and have the luxury of a whole afternoon to sit by the fire and read, then I’ll choose a longer book, but if it’s just a quick moment of sitting in a bubble bath, then sometimes I prefer a shorter book. Especially if I’m stressed or had a particularly hard day, then I need that quick, mindless read, meaning I need to see the story from start to finish in one sitting and have that heartwarming feeling of a Happily Ever After.

For my writing, it’s a toss up. Some of my series or books are setup to be quick reads. I make them short for a reason. A couple of my series have been wrote in short form just for those fans that write to me all the time wanting what they call, lunch time reads. But I do have long novels in my list. My new series that will start rolling out in March will be long books, each one.

So, long or short read… long or short writing… We all love to read and write, so keep it up and let’s get lost in another world or time at least for a moment or maybe for a whole day. Who am I kidding? We readers tend to read into the night sometimes… There’s nothing wrong with pulling an all nighter!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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In the Right Order…Or NOT!

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Happy Thanksgiving week! It’s Monday, so forgive me if I ramble a bit. After a busy weekend, I need multiple cups of coffee just to get my eyes open. But, for now, let’s talk writing.

Do you have to do things in the right order? Well, it’s according to what you’re doing. You can’t bake a cake before you make the batter. You can’t ice a cake before you bake it.

With writing, you can write the ending before you write the beginning. How? For some writers, they have to get the last scene written in order to get a grip on the first three fourths.

I’ve posted several things on outlines and writing technique. And I’ve always said, put your ideas together, so that you know where you’re headed. Before you ask, yes, I’ve written the last scene of a book first. Of course, when I did, the ending changed slightly as the first parts were written and put in place.

Since I write in Scrivener, sometimes I go ahead and put in the Chapter heads that go with my outline first. That way I can write different scenes ahead of time. If I get stuck on a certain part, sometimes skipping ahead helps to beat writers block.

The goal of the post is to let you know, it’s alright to write your book in the wrong order. Just make sure that it fits together like a puzzle. The pieces need to fit, but not forced.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Just Let It Go…

Can you believe it’s a week until Thanksgiving? This year is flying by and in my opinion, that could be a good thing. It’s been a crazy year!

Just Let It Go…

It’s the same with writing. If you have a story line that keeps bugging you, then let it go. As in, let it go where it needs to. Most writers will tell you that if a story starts in your brain, it will drive you crazy until you do something with it.

Now, it’s not to say that some of the ideas that come through your head are publish worthy. If I had a dollar for every story idea I had that flopped before the first chapter was done, well, let’s just say, I’d be in a good position. Sometimes though, it’s hard to Just Let It Go…

Don’t waste your time on stories that don’t go far. You need to focus on those stories that can go the distance. As I said in an earlier post, make sure that your story can make it through plotting and scene set up. Then, you’ll have a story to publish.

If not, then Just Let It Go…

In life sometimes we have to Just Let It Go…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

P.S. Wine, Wedding, And The Cowboy is coming out December 4th, so preorder now! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08DF9JC3V/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i25

Release Date: December 4, 2020


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Wednesday Warm Thoughts…

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It’s mighty cold here in Georgia on this Tuesday morning. As I write this post, the fire is crackling and popping in the fireplace, keeping me toasty warm. Do you enjoy a good fire on a cold morning?

For me, sitting by a warm fire inspires me to write more. Why is that? I love to come down the hall on cold mornings and hear the crackling fire. As soon as I have a cup of coffee in my hands, I stand in front of the fire, letting it warm me to my soul. It’s a wonderful feeling.

Not to mention I’m finishing up the last of my Christmas romance, which comes through easier with a cozy fire. Now just to get up my Christmas tree and decorations. But that will have to wait until after the upcoming busy weekend.

Enjoy every moment… Listen to the crackle of a fire… Give yourself a moment every day to just be…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Saying goodbye is never easy!

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It’s hard to believe that I’m finishing the last book of the Wishful Harbor Series. I’ve enjoyed every moment of writing this series. The characters will always hold a special place in my heart. And the town of Wishful Harbor will draw me in and send me on a journey where the scent of sea air and the sound of sea gulls overhead fill the air.

Saying goodbye to anything isn’t easy. In life, there’s so many things we have to say goodbye to. But with a book series, even though the series has come to a close, the books will be there to read over and over. The memories will be there too.

Over the years of my writing career, I’ve said goodbye to many series. The Five Oaks Ranch Series is still one of my bestselling series and it continues to gain momentum. I’ve had so many people write to me about adding more books to that series. Maybe one day, but for now, it’s just a dream…

In January I’ll publish the last Mistletoe Ranch book. And I just published the last book from The Journal Series. With each new series, there has to be an end. New things need to start and life goes on. But the memories will forever be there along with the laughter, tears and thought that went into each word.

Starting in 2021 I’ll be starting a whole new series, one that will pull everything out of me. I’m so excited about it. I’ve not spoken much about it, but in the coming weeks, I’ll post some snippets and info on it. But for now, let’s just say, 2021 will be filled with mystery, intrigue, and romance.

For now, I’ll go back to my writing and the cup of coffee that’s growing cool. But I’ll ask one question, how do you handle saying goodbye?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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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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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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Cowboys, Pirates, and other heroes…

Have you noticed a trend lately? Of course, as you know, I have no problem with the Cowboy or Pirate heroes, as I write mostly about Cowboys and Pirates. But it’s funny the interest in these types of leading men.

But with that being said, why is it so popular in the romance genre? I don’t see a lot of cowboy heroes on movies or pirate heroes for that matter. It’s as though romance readers need that masculine persona that follows a cowboy or pirate.

On the side of the cowboy, there’s the fact that they’re usually strong from working the ranch all day. So that’s a plus for a hero. Then, of course, they can ride in on their horse and save the day, or truck, whatever the scene might need. A fictional cowboy is usually honor bound and very protective which lends a good lead male character. Don’t forget that handy Stetson to keep the sun out.

Now we can’t leave out the Pirate, good or bad, they make a great male lead character. Of course, they command a ship, which means they are a take charge man. A good pirate can take care of his heroine and lead his ship through the worst storm without batting an eye. Then you have the bad pirate, but you can have them turn good pirate, which usually takes a strong heroine to take care of that task. Don’t forget the attire of a pirate. I always think of ‘Jack Sparrow’ or ‘Will Turner’, yes, I’m a Pirates of the Caribbean fan.

There are so many hero types that lead to a good romance. Don’t forget the law officer coming to the rescue, the firefighter saving the lady from the fire or even the country boy that’s not quite a cowboy, but has polite values and that protective gene.

So, who makes a good hero for you?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…