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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Taxes & Writing on my!

Good morning, it’s already the 6th day of the year, wow times flying. If you’re an author then you’ll want to read this post, and even if you’re not and you file taxes, take a few minutes to check this out.

Here’s a list of expenses that you can claim as a published author if you have royalties to claim as income.

Expenses:

Writing program expenses (Ex. Word, Powerpoint, Scrivener, etc.)

Subscription Fees (Ex. Writing Magazines, Writing Site fees, etc.)

Dues (Ex. Romance Writers Associations, Writing Associations, etc.)

Computers/Laptops/Printers

Pens/Pencils/Paper/Journals/Notebooks

Postage (Used to mail books, letters to editors, etc.)

Advertising

Swag expenses

Book Signing expenses

Labor paid to a writing assistant

Editing fees/Cover Design Fees

Website design fees/Domain fees

These are just some of the expenses that some authors forget when they sit down to do their taxes.

Now remember to make sure you get all of the 1099 forms from all the places where you sold books this year. I always print a summary of sales report on all of the sites my books are on, that way I don’t leave out anything.

If you have any questions as you prepare to do your return, email me and I’ll help. Check out my accounting website for more information at http://hurtsbusiness.wix.com/hurtsbusiness

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Romancing the New Year…

Good Tuesday morning peeps! How’s your new year so far? Mine has been busy. Of course tax season starts this month, not to mention the end of the year reports, income statements, W-2’s and 1099’s are all due out. Oh, and did I mention my newest book is set to release February 17th.

Whew, yeah, it’s a little busy, but those that have been reading my blog for a while, you know this is when I’m in my element. My new book is coming along great and in line with the deadline. Let’s hope it stays that way. I just need a couple of more hours in the day, but don’t we all?

Have you added any romance into the new year yet? If you haven’t, then go to any of the book sites and you’ll find something in the romance genre you like. Just cuddle up with a blanket and get lost. Hopefully I’ll have a little time in the next couple of days to do that, but for now, I’m cuddled up in a blanket, by the fire, sipping coffee and writing. Then it’s off to the office for a day filled with cleaning, organizing and setting up appointments.

Hope you’re day is going well.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Just a little reminder, “Seaside Beginnings” is on preorder at Amazon and Smashwords. Go by and get your copy preordered so it will be delivered on the release date…

By the way, tomorrow I’ll be talking taxes and the author! So come back for a little tax advice…


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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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As I Ponder 2012…

I thought this picture would be a refreshing change. Everything here is starting to look drab and dull. Winter can do that you know. I can hear the birds chirping this morning as I make my post. I love it. Well, on to the new year.

As I ponder the past year I wonder, what did I accomplish? What did I want to accomplish but didn’t? Well, let’s see. When 2012 started I had only played with the idea of publishing some of my manuscripts. Now six of them are a reality. That’s exciting to me. Wow, I published six books in 2012, should’ve been seven, but that’s water under the perpetual bridge so to speak.

My ship didn’t come in, meaning I didn’t win the lottery or sell a million books, so today I have to come back to my accounting office and start the busiest time of the year for an accountant. I love this time of year. Weird, I know, but that’s just me. I love it when it’s busy and I don’t have time to think about the things I haven’t done.

I am thankful for a healthy, happy family. It’s wonderful to have friends that care, family that is close and all of you. That’s another thing that changed in 2012. I became a social media junkie. Yep, that’s right, me, ‘Ms I don’t do social media’. 🙂 Well you all know how that turned out. Here I am blogging, tweeting, facebooking, and any other site I can get on. Funny how publishing a book can change your life and publishing six in one year really changes things.

Well, I hope you all have a prosperous year.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you in 2013!
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Testing and Undecorating…What a Saturday!

Well, I spent my morning taking the decorations down from every corner of the house. It was sad to see it all go. I love Christmas and every aspect of it. The Christmas tree just lights up the room. As I took each ornament off the tree I smiled. Especially the ones my son Hunter has made over his 13 years of life.

It was then that I looked at the mangled boxes littering my living room floor and I sighed. Well, it’s over and I’ve got to get this mess up before I go nuts. So I pushed forward and managed in a couple of hours to have everything packed in boxes and put into the attic. I looked at my clean house after much vacuuming and dusting. Amazing how dusty everything gets when it’s covered with Christmas things. Even the artificial tree had shed all over the carpet. Go figure…

Well on to other less exciting things. Since I’m an Accountant I have to meet my requirements set forth by the IRS. This year they set forth new testing deadlines late in the year. I have to complete 15 credit hours of testing before the end of 2012. I spent a good part of Friday and today finishing that up. Wow, I had forgot how much I hate taking tests. Especially tests on Tax law and regulations, many of which I will never have to deal with.

Needless to say I’ve had to push my writing aside for a couple of days, but no worry. I’m back in the groove and ready to finish the novel that was supposed to be finished over a week ago. Yeah I know, get with the program Stephanie. Well, hopefully everything will come together tonight and Monday morning my editor will have it out and ready to go. Fingers cross 🙂

As always, good writing and May God Bless You!

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Back to School! Are you kidding?

Yep, you heard it right. I started some tax courses last night. Our wonderful Internal Revenue Service in their infinite wisdom has decided that we tax preparers and Accountants don’t have enough to do. I understand the need for furthering your education, that’s not the issue.

The thing that gripes me is that not only do we have to be tested to see if we can continue to do our job, but now we’re required by the end of the year to have 15 credit hours of schooling. I’ve always kept up my education, but this is going beyond. I know they are trying to get out the shady characters that call themselves tax preparers but most have not set a foot in a classroom, much less a tax forum, but this has gone a little over board.

The funny thing is we now have to pay for the privilege to do what we went to college and paid high dollars to learn how to do. We have to pay to get a number to practice under the IRS and we also have to pay to take high dollar classes and now the required testing that was not supposed to cost much has not gone up. What next?

Well, I started going over the study courses last night. I realized I’m out of study practice. Hand me a real world scenario any day, but some of the garbage they’re handing out is purely laughable. Oh well, guess the writing will be put to a minimum until I finish all 8 courses, yes 8! Not to mention the quizzes and final exams for each. Like my life was not busy enough.

Oh well, I’ll get off my soapbox and get to work, since I now have less time in the day. Hope all of you have a wonderful Tuesday and May God always bless you in all you do!