Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Writing through Menopause brain…

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Alright ladies, who can raise their hand on this one? If you’re already at that age where your brain is fuzzy at best, then you’re aware of the effects it has on your writing. Some days my mind just doesn’t want to function, which can cause quite a disturbance in my daily word count. What to do?

For me, I caffeine up and take something naturally, which does help, but there are days when none of this makes a difference. I feel sluggish, irritable and just uninterested. That makes me crazy since writing is my happy place.

I’ve been reading a lot lately on how to combat this. One of the things is I make sure that I write everyday, even through the fuzzy edged mind. My editor laughs sometimes when she gets the first draft because, well, the menopause brain makes me stumble over my words, quite literally. Some of my words get ahead of themselves, but thank goodness she understands me, so she plows through it.

Another thing that has helped is a painting app on my phone. When the fuzziness starts creeping in, I pull out my phone and begin to paint. It’s paint by numbers and very relaxing. I’ve also found that while I’m painting, I can work through plots and scenes in my head. So, this is helping.

How many of you have these issues? Let’s work through them together and get to the next stage in our lives. Yes, I’m proud to be almost 52. My life has been an amazing adventure and I know this season will be another adventure that I will laugh at when I get past it. But for now, I’ll just do everything in my power to keep up my work.

As always, May God Bless You…

And while you’re working through it, give Marina a read. It’s a short story to finish out my The Journal Series.

https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1535894983

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/marinas-story-timeless-love-stephanie-hurt/1137860225?ean=2940162731931


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It’s Thursday, let’s Throwback!

Today I want to throw it back to 2015 I wrote a book that would change so many things in my writing adventure. Check out this nice little emblem I was honored with for Tuscany.

And this was out of over 950 entries!

Tuscany then led me down the traditional publishing route with a great publisher, Solstice Publishing. I was so excited as I signed that contract and began that part of my publishing journey.

Signing publishing contract!

Then in 2019, I took the ownership of my manuscript back and started a new journey. As you can see, Tuscany has taken me so many places, not to mention to Italy in my writing. I discovered so much through writing this novel and added a strong item to my bucket list, a trip to Tuscany. One day… But for now, I’ll stay rooted to the ground.

Tuscany

***Tuscany made it to the top 55 of 985 books in the SYTYCW contest through Harlequin***

Sometimes life leads us on a different path… Fall in love with Tuscany as you follow Lana on the adventure of a lifetime… When Lana Daniels, a simple girl from Georgia inherits a large olive farm in Tuscany, her world is turned upside down. Then she meets Romeo Russo, the farm’s foreman, the most handsome and infuriating man she had ever met. Romeo loves the farm and is afraid that Lana will ruin everything if she stays. But as he gets to know her, he can’t imagine the place without her. Just when he thinks that they can have something together, she finds out that she has three months to decide whether to stay in Italy or sell her grandmother’s legacy.
As accidents start to happen on the farm, Romeo and Lana try to figure out who is behind it all. The more they work together, the closer they get. When a lie tears Lana and Romeo apart, Lana disappears leaving Romeo confused. Can she stay away or will she sell the farm and never look back?.
Tuscany made it to the Top 55 out of 905 of Harlequin’s 2015 So You Think You Can Write Contest…

So, I hope you fall in love with a bit of Tuscany in this novel. I know I did!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Deadlines or Procrastination!

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Deadlines… A writers nemesis, but necessary. As an Accountant I have many deadlines to meet, and as a writer, I also have them. They surround me and some days I feel overwhelmed. But I love what I do on both fronts, so I push toward the next deadline with zeal.

But, procrastination also plays a part. As I’m procrastinating now by writing this blog. Sometimes I work best with a looming deadline. Then other times, a chill runs up my spine as the anxiety fills me.

As writers, we set release dates for our work, then work toward them. It’s like a means to an end. If we don’t set a deadline, then where will our work go? I do a schedule every year that sets deadlines for the draft, the editing, and the release. This is setup by evaluating the work itself. Is it to be a full length novel or a short novella? I calculate the words per day, but I manage to add some empty days that allow for procrastination, but still have me meeting my deadline.

What about you? How do you handle deadlines?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You!


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Pumpkin Spice Time!

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Good Monday morning! It’s that time of year where pumpkins are everywhere. Which means pumpkin spice time! For those that have followed my blog, you know that I love pumpkin spice, but there are some things that don’t need to be pumpkin spice flavored.

Now, I enjoy pumpkin spice lattes, creamer, cake, coffee, cookies, pop tarts, and other things. But I’ve tried some things that just don’t make the count for me. Pumpkin spice cereal was ok, but didn’t want it again. Then I saw pumpkin spice mac & cheese, we won’t even go there… Someone gave me some pumpkin spiced candy and well, the first trash can I pass, it got tossed. I still shudder at some of the things I’ve tried with pumpkin spice in it.

So, what do you like with pumpkin spice? What have you tried that just didn’t make the cut?

Happy Fall Ya’ll!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Go by and sign up for my newsletter to keep up with all of my new releases at www.stephaniehurtauthor.com


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Making time work for you…

Good Tuesday morning! Time… It just keeps marching on and sometimes it marches all over your good intentions. Yep, been there! But, I’ve started doing a couple of things that work for me. SO, here goes:

  1. As I said in Saturday’s post, schedule your advertising ahead of time. That gives you a good slot of time to write. Without having to do your ads every day, then you can focus on other things, like writing…
  2. Set a time to write every day. For me, I try to write every morning before I get dressed and head to the office. That’s my time to write. Sometimes I even set a timer to make sure I get every second of writing time without having to glance at the clock.
  3. Don’t go down the social media rabbit hole. I’ve gone down that hole so many times and lost precious writing time. Go ahead and write before you go on social media, then you don’t have that temptation.
  4. And don’t forget the time gem – the weekend! When I schedule my daily word count, I always put in double on Saturday and Sunday.
  5. Now, my most important way to make time work for me is to do a schedule. I know what I need to get done everyday. If I meet my word goal for the day early, then I can either get in extra words or I can do a little promotional posting. But a schedule helps you keep up with your upcoming releases and you’ll never miss a deadline again…

Don’t forget that the way to meet your deadline is to focus on your writing time. Make sure that you have figured out how much you need to do each day to meet your goal. Make the time work for you…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Setting up ads for week…

It’s finally Saturday. How do you spend your Saturday? Me, I take a little longer cuddling my coffee, then I check my social media. My house gets cleaned and laundry done, not saying it’s put up, just done. Then I get to work on my weekly ads.

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How do I schedule for a week? I’ll let you in on a little secret, I have a post spreadsheet. On my spreadsheet I have the books that I will post on for the upcoming week and where. I input the information for ads that are coming out and also, my blog posts are mostly done ahead of time.

Why do I schedule all of this ahead of time? I want more time to write. But how do I do it? Well, I use Hootsuite, Twitter Scheduler, Facebook Scheduler and other programs. No, I do not pay for the subscriptions, I do as many on each of them that I can.

A little hint, do not overload your social media with books. Post stuff about yourself, your life, inspirational pictures, pets, and so on. Let your fans know who you are. I try to alternate book posts to every four hours or more. That way I’m not too overpowering.

So, what are you doing today? Are you kicking back, enjoying a good movie? Live life… Laugh a lot… and Love…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Dreams – We all have them…

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Dreams fill our nights and guide our days. Some dreams are just imagination, but some dreams are real. Let’s explore them…

As a young girl, my dreams were filled with horses, grand pianos and writing… Well, I’ve made one dream come true, writing. And through my writing, my dream of owning horses can come true. If you’ve read any of my books, then you know most of them have horses in them. It’s my way of living one of my dreams.

Do you live your dream or just dream about it? Always remember that some of our dreams are right in front of us, we just have to focus on them. So, will you make it happen today?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Genre… How do you choose?

Wow! We made it people, we’re halfway to the weekend… I have question and it’s one that’s been asked of me, plus I’ve asked it myself. What is the genre you write in?

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It’s like sitting down to watch a movie. You have to choose what you want to watch. If you love Rom Com’s, then you’re not likely to choose a Horror Flick. Same with books, people are specific when they look for a book.

So, you’re probably saying, you write romance, that’s easy. But, when you put your book on a publishing site, it’s not that easy. Ok, the main genre is romance for me, but there are many styles of romance. It’s endless and sometimes gives me a headache. How do you break it down?

For example, when putting a book on Amazon for instance, you have to list 2 categories and then 7 keywords. Yikes! And if you get it wrong, you won’t explode, but your sales may not either. If you get it right, you nail it!

Now, the categories for romance are long and sort of specific. Yes, I know that I don’t write Dystopian Romance. To be honest, I had to look up Dystopian, just to clarify. And no, I don’t write Erotic Romance. But, does my book fall into Contemporary, New Adult, General, Comedy, Western, etc… The list goes on.

My best advice on this subject is to go to writers that write like you. See where they have their books at and always, always, look at the bestsellers in that style. Because if they aren’t bestsellers, then they may be doing the same thing as you, trying to wrap their head around it.

Oh, and don’t forget the keywords. This is something that I change up often and I mean often. Of course, sometimes Amazon will put your book in other keywords or categories, like if your book is short, it could be listed under Kindle Read under 2 hours. Do your research!!! Let me repeat that so that all of those in the back heard me, DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! Don’t you hate shouty capitals. Well, I hope I got your attention.

Go now and look at the book that’s not selling as well as it should. No, really, go now. You can’t afford for your book to be sitting in the wrong spot. It’s like a cook book that’s put under historical romance. Wrong! So get to it. And let me know how it goes. Make sure that you keep a spreadsheet on sales before you make the change, then after. See if it works and if you haven’t see a change in a couple of weeks, tweak it.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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The Structure I use to outline…

It’s Tuesday morning and I’m cozying up with my coffee cup. Morning’s are so hard, but after a couple more cups of coffee, I’ll have this thing in hand…

Ok, so I promised part 2 of my outline process would be about structure. And I always do my best to live up to my promises…

Structure!

Outlining gets me through the writing progress, but as I stated in my last post, there needs to be structure, the bones to the writing.

Now, this is the way I structure my writing process. It works for me and I hope it works for you.

  1. Start your book by introducing your main character. Don’t overdo the backstory, but let your reader know who the main character is all about, what they are looking for, or what they need to happen. Maybe it’s looking for Mr. Right or solving a mystery.
  2. Then, of course, things can’t go exactly right with your character, that would be boring. So, something needs to happen that changes their course, maybe setting them up for an exciting change. Maybe it’s an obstacle that’s put in front of their goal.
  3. At this point, the character will want to give up, but they press forward.
  4. In the middle or somewhere near it, your character should be at their breaking point. Your reader should be asking, what will happen next? I call this the top of the hill.
  5. As you start to let things happen that go right for the character, you need to toss in one last zinger. Your reader has started to feel like they know how it will end, but then…
  6. Now, and only now do you let your character have victory. This is when they slay the dragon, win the love, or find the killer.
  7. This is the closing out of your story. Your character marries their love, sees the killer put in prison, or whatever their turmoil was, ends and they see the rainbow, so to speak. Then they walk into the sunset, or fall off a cliff, if it’s a cliffhanger for the next book in the series…

Now, I now this was a very relaxed explanation, but that’s how I roll. I don’t get into fancy words, because that just confuses the situation. This is how I do it and it may or may not work for you. It works for me!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You….

Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter so that you can get all of my upcoming release news! Sign up at stephaniehurtauthor.com or if you want a FREE book, sign up at https://dl.bookfunnel.com/c8f1clsu21

Book 3 in The Journal Series


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New release… Upcoming release… Busy days ahead…

Good Sunday afternoon! I do hope all of you have been doing well. I’ve been away from here for way too long… With all of the added challenges to my accounting office due to Small Business loans and PPP requirements, I’ve been really busy. Not to mention tax season was extended a little, so I took on some extra returns this year. But, I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

If you’ve looked at my Amazon author page, you’ll see that I have several preorders up and running. So, I’ll be staying busy through the end of the year.

Here’s a little something from my new release, “Wedding at Mistletoe Ranch”:

Maddy was walking from the barn when Denver pulled his truck up to the front walk of the house. He got out and moved toward her. “Hey, you’re back earlier than I thought you would be.” She said as he put his arm around her shoulders.

“I have a date this evening, so I thought I’d be on time.” Denver whispered against the side of her head as he kissed her hair. “Where’s your sock cap?”

“It’s hanging over the side of one of the stalls. I pulled it off to scratch my head and dropped it on the wet stall floor. So, I was letting it dry. Guess I forgot to grab it.”

“Let’s get you inside where it’s warm.” Denver said, taking her by surprise when he leaned down and picked her up into his strong arms. “I don’t want the love of my life to catch pneumonia.”

Maddy was giggling as they walked through the front door. Annie was coming out of the den when Denver closed the door with his foot. “You two look happy. I’m so glad.” Annie clapped her hands together in front of her. “Now, I have your dinner cooked and warming on the stove. The rest of the rice pudding is in the fridge. Just warm it a little in the microwave.”

“Thank you.” Maddy kissed Annie’s cheek, then gave her a sideways hug.

“You’re most welcome. Now, you two enjoy your dinner and I’ll see you in the morning.” Annie said as she pulled on her jacket and wound the scarf around her neck.

“Goodnight Annie.” Denver kissed the top of Annie’s head, then went into the den to check the fire while Maddy pulled her jacket off.

Annie stopped at the door. “There was a call for you on the main house line.”

Maddy stopped midway of pulling her boots off. “Who was it?” Her mind raced over who would be calling her here.

“I think it was the woman that stayed here a couple of days. She said something about telling you that she’d be coming back through here the second week in February. Then she said that her business was taking longer than she’d thought, so she was staying up there to finish it up.”

“Oh, that was Izzie. Good, maybe she’ll be here in time for the Valentine’s dance that Polly is putting on.” Maddy said with excitement, then she thought about Denver’s dislike of Izzie. “I’m sure Denver will just be thrilled to hear the news.” Then she rolled her eyes.

“I’m sure my dear.” Annie’s face was unreadable as she walked out the door.

Maddy thought it was strange that Annie seemed to feel as Denver did, and she never even met Izzie. She shrugged as she walked into the den to warm up by the fire. “I have some news.”

“Ok, what’s your news.” Denver asked with a smile.

“Izzie will be back through here in February.” Maddy held out her hands to warm them as she waited for Denver’s reaction. She looked around at him, seeing his face turning a little pale.

“Well, alright then.” Denver said in a gruff voice. “Let’s go see what Annie cooked for dinner. I’m starving.”

Maddy frowned, knowing he wasn’t happy with the news. But she was excited about her new friend coming back to stay. Maybe this time she could give her a tour of the town, although she was still learning it herself. And she could use some advice on wedding planning.

Hope you liked that little tidbit! Grab a copy here: https://www.amazon.com/Wedding-Mistletoe-Ranch-Book-ebook/dp/B08DF3T3FX

Now on to an upcoming release! “The Pirate of Her Desire”

If you’ve enjoyed the first two books in The Journal Series, then you’ll love this one. Our third sister is about to learn that what happens in a romance novel might not be what happens in real life.

Sometimes when a dream becomes reality things don’t turn out like you imagined.

Since the first romance novel Amber read, she’d always dreamed of living on a pirate ship and capturing the heart of the captain. When the journal sends her to 1750 where she comes face to face with captain George Drake she realizes she might be headed for disaster. Is she prepared for the life on a real pirate ship versus the romanticized versions she’d always read in novels?

Captain George Drake, the most well-known pirate of his time can’t believe his eyes when he sees Amber on his ship. He is filled with anger but one look into her blue eyes and he’s not sure what he is going to do with his beautiful, feisty stowaway. Tensions rise as he struggles to hide this woman from his crew and keep her safe in the midst of a harsh battle. Can he make himself believe a simple journal brought her to his ship?

Will he risk the respect of his crew and everything he has worked toward for the woman that has dropped into his life or will he send her back to her own time? Will he be able to let her go? Will he have a choice?

Their story is action packed but will unfold into a love story to last for all time.

As I said, I’ve been a little busy. But keep a watch out for all of my new releases, coming soon.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…