Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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From Tuscany & Beyond…

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Good Wednesday morning! Sorry, it’s been a little while since my last post. As most of you know, I’m an accountant, so this is my busy busy busy season! Not to mention I have a couple of writing deadlines, yes, I’m a glutton for punishment.

With Tuscany, I stepped out and took a chance. This book pulled at me like no other. I could see it being destined to do well. First step, I entered it into the Harlequin ‘So You Think You Can Write’ contest, with fingers crossed and anything else that would cross. It made it to the Top 55 of over 950 books. Yes, I did a happy dance and screamed. Even though it didn’t get any further, I knew it could go the distance.

Then, I decided to pitch it to Solstice Publishing, hoping they’d see what I saw and within 48 hours I had a lovely email from the editor. I’d sold Tuscany to Solstice and they wanted it. As most of you know, I’ve published 30 books, but this is the only one with a publisher other than myself. I’ve loved everything about the experience and wouldn’t change a thing. Solstice took Tuscany to news heights.

My dream for Tuscany is to see it one day make it into the hands of Hallmark Channel, but what romance author doesn’t dream of that. So, for now, I’ll keep typing away and dreaming of the day that it happens…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Inside a Series…

Series Article

Good morning! As you can tell from the picture above, I’m talking about Five Oaks Ranch, my bestselling series.

Have you written a series? If so, did you have a hard time keeping the stories straight? This series was a work in progress that kept me on my toes. The idea for the series came as we drove back from our Florida vacation a couple of years ago. The road signs were passing by and each one seemed to spur an idea. So, by the time I got home, I had a skeleton map drawn on my notepad. Since I get car sick easily, it was a horrible looking thing, but I had it in my head and heart.

Over the next couple of days, I put together the book names, the character sketches for the five main characters and ideas for how their stories would go together. This series was the most fun as they almost wrote themselves. Each book fed off the other and it was as though I wrote one long manuscript and cut it into five books. I know, there were six, but the Christmas book only came into my head toward the end of Luke.

Several people started writing to me that they wanted to know more about the parents. At first, I was like, but this is the story about the five children, hence the series name, Five Oaks Ranch. Then as I sat thinking about it, I came up with the idea for the Christmas story that would bring it all together. So, A Christmas to Remember was born. By the way, at the end of the Christmas book, I’ve put several of my own family recipes that have been passed down through the generations.

The family tree is introduced in the Christmas book. You’ll notice that some of the kids haven’t been born in any of the books, but I wanted to let my readers know that the characters went on to lead love-filled lives together.

So, have you started the Five Oaks Ranch series yet? Ridge is free! This book stayed in the top 100 of free books on Amazon for over a year, which made me giggle with excitement everytime I looked at the stats. And you’ll notice a pretty, shiny silver medallion on the cover of Ridge. He was honored with a five-star review from Reader’s Favorites! Here’s the link to the whole series if you’re in the market for a new series to read, but here’s a warning, you’ll fall in love with the Cauthen’s.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Friday Writing…

It’s finally Friday! I hope all of you have a fabulous weekend planned. As for me, it’s tax time, so I’ll be elbow deep in tax returns, but I do plan to put in some much needed, stress relieving writing…

Here’s a little snippet of Promises Made, the historical romance that made the honorable place as my 30th book published…

The music started just as everyone was finishing their food. Hank pulled Joy’s chair out and stood with her as they watched several people move onto the makeshift dance floor.

“Come on papa, let’s have a dance.” Joy said, her eyes lit with excitement. Every year, her and papa always shared the first dance, it was tradition.

“I’ll grab the next one, but Nash here, maybe he’d take you for the first dance.” Hank said, grinning down at his shocked daughter.

Joy stammered, trying to catch her voice. “I’m sure Mr. Collins has better things to do than dance with me.” Joy said, humiliated that her papa had offered her to a stranger.

“I’ll dance with you.” Nash said as he took her hand, leading her toward the floor. His facial expression never changed. It was almost as though he regretted agreeing to this dance.

Joy just knew she’d faint from lack of oxygen. What was happening? Her papa always danced the first dance with her. She looked up at the back of Mr. Collins head as he led her toward the other dancers. Why would he want to dance with her? If she went by his demeanor, he didn’t want to dance at all.

Nash stopped and turned to face Joy. “Ma’am.” He grasped her hand and pulled her into a loose embrace. Nash made sure that there was at least two inches between them so no tongues began to wag. All he needed was more gossip about him. Since his mother had been a full-blooded Cherokee, people in this town thought he was nothing but trouble. His two brothers had it easier since they were born to another mother.

As they moved around the dance floor Nash avoided her eyes. Joy wondered what he was thinking about. He kept his gaze on a spot beyond her right shoulder. Of course, this man was a lot older than her, so he was probably just being nice to her papa. But, Joy’s mind went to the fact that her papa had invited Nash’s family to sit with them during the meal. Her papa had never mentioned the Collins family at home. Maybe he and Nash’s dad had been friends, but why wouldn’t she know about it. Another weird thing was that her father usually sat with his friends, so why suddenly was he interested in the Collins family.

When the song came to an end, a gentleman tapped Nash’s shoulder, asking to step in. Nash let her hand drop as he stepped back, allowing the man to dance with her. Joy watched as he walked to the sidelines and watched them move around the dance floor. It was odd the way his eyes moved with them, almost in a protective stance.

I do hope you enjoyed this short little piece of the moment that Nash and Joy first danced. This was such a special, sweet story and I fell in love with the characters, flaws and all.

Have a great weekend!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Fear as a writer…

Good morning! Hope all is well with everyone as we start this Thursday morning or afternoon, wherever you wonderful people are 😉

Fear, everyone has felt fear at one time or the other. Don’t lie, you know you have. As a child, we had fear of strangers and storms. As adults, we have many fears. Maybe we fear financial issues, for our children, the future… etc. There are a lot of fears in this world, but I want to talk about the fear as a writer.

The moment I hit submit on Ghost Lover, the first book I published in May 2012, I was sweating. My palms were damp, my heart was racing, in easy terms, I was a mess. What if nobody likes my writing? What if this is a mistake? What if… What if… What if… Then the emails started coming from readers that fell in love with Jared and Jessie. The fear was alleviated for a moment, then came the next book and the next.

Does my fear ease with each book I publish? Some, but not completely. I’m always afraid of the unknown. Even though my books are poured over and over with edits and rewrites and such, I still have that fear that I’m sending out my work with flaws. Even the best-edited book has flaws and I have to remind myself of that. My fans are so precious and let me know every day the pleasure they get from the words I put on the page, but still, I feel like I could’ve added more to the story, went over it one more time, or even changed something.

Then there’s the fear of not selling a single book, yikes…. Yes, that’s a fear. In January, my sales went on a downward spiral and I had to catch my breath. After an amazing end of 2016, it was like a kick in the gut. But, as I sought out other authors to see if it was happening to them, they confirmed that they too were seeing a sharp decline in sales. Even the authors that normally sell thousands of copies a month were down to hundreds. Although that should make me feel better, it only made my fear worse. Had people stopped reading? LOL! Yes, it was an irrational fear, but it still came through this ditsy blonde head.

Then, the sales started to rise. Yes, my fear was going away, but then a new fear arose. Could I do more to keep that from happening again? The truth is, no. We can’t control what people do or trends, so, I picked myself up off the pity floor and moved forward.

So, as a writer, what do you fear?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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Book #30…

Wow~ I knew I was getting close and thought I had one more to go, but upon checking and counting, I found out that ‘Promises Made’ was actually my 30th book to be published. Of course, if you count the books that are combos it’s more, but the 30 are separate books.

This May, I will celebrate five years of publishing and it makes me a little misty-eyed as I go back through my list of books. It’s hard to believe that I’ve hit 30! When I first began publishing the manuscripts that were in my head, I imagined hitting ten books published, then twenty, and now I’m at thirty. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Was it easy? No! Writing isn’t as easy as people think. Anyone can write something down,  but can they make it a book? Meaning, can they make the story they want to write flow through from start to finish? Writing is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve been writing stories since I was a teenager and that’s a long time. But, the moment you publish what’s been hanging around in your mind, you put your heart and soul out there for everyone to see. It’s scary!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Monday, Coffee and a book…

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Good Monday morning! I don’t know about all of you, but I could’ve used one more day in the weekend. Funny thing, I had planned to get some work done in the office and write at least 5000 words over the weekend. Did I meet my goal? Well, I got some work done, but not the word count. My weekend word count was pitiful…

For some reason, my writer-brain was on vacation this weekend. But as I went about cleaning house, working on tax returns and going about the business of life, my mind was on my current manuscript. I went over scenes in my head, but couldn’t make myself sit down at my laptop and write it down. Why? I have no clue. I wouldn’t call it writer’s block. Actually, I don’t know what to call it, but I hear a lot of other writers complain of this.

So, as I write this post, I’m preparing for my writing binge this morning before I go to the office. I’m working on my second cup of coffee and then I’ll grab a third just to make sure my brain is awake and what I write will make sense.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

P.S.: Don’t forget to grab a copy of ‘Promises Made’. It’s up and running… https://www.amazon.com/Promises-Made-Sky-Ridge-Book-ebook/dp/B06W9LDLV7 You’ll fall in love with Nash and Joy!


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That moment…The perfect ending!

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Good morning! It’s halfway to the weekend, you can do this!

As I sat this morning, finishing the last minute edits on Promises Made, I read the last paragraph and sighed. Have you ever just really knew when you typed the perfect words to end a book? Well, that’s the moment I had this morning. But, with that being said, I also cried knowing what those last words meant for my characters and also, knowing I can’t say a word yet!!!

Promises Made is taking me to new heights as a writer. It’s different from my other historical romances and has brought me so much excitement for the storyline. I can see all three books in my head and I can’t wait for you to meet Nash and Joy. You will fall in love with them.

Joy is this sweet young woman that believes in romance and love. She’s lost everything, but gained more than she ever expected. Her humble upbringing has made her a strong woman with good morals.

Nash Collins is a rich rancher that was born as a half-breed), his mother was Cheyenne. He is fiercely loyal and needs a wife. The moment they set eyes on one another, Nash knows that she’ll be his one day. But he also knows that it could be impossible until fate turns the tables.

So, be watching for the release that is coming this Friday!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…