Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Toss a stone… Watch the ripple…

As I sit here, sipping my coffee and getting my mind ready for the day, I’ve been thinking about my current WIP. It’s been such a refreshing new project that I’ve enjoyed working on.

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Now, I could have stayed with my usual genre and kept the water smooth and ripple free. But, that wouldn’t be fun. I’ve been writing romance for several years. My genre ranged from sweet romance, to paranormal. So, how is my current WIP different?

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My current WIP is a Christian Suspense Romance. What is that you may be asking? Well, it’s a clean romance that has Christian elements, along with suspenseful and thrilling parts, but as always that some romance sprinkled in. And with it being Christian, you know that it won’t be too over the top gory or crude.

So, I went from keeping the waters calm and smooth, to tossing a pebble and wrecking the calm waters. And it’s the best move I’ve made in a long time. I can’t wait to get it out to my readers because I think they’ll fall in love with the characters and be glued to the story. It won’t be anything you expect either.

Ripple the water… Make a change… Get a refreshing new look at romance…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Midweek Writing & Descriptions…

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This week is flying by. So much to do with so little time.

Lately I’ve been focusing more and more on being descriptive. I want my readers to take the journey with me, not just read it. It means more if they see the vision that I do when I’m writing. As I wrote earlier, show, don’t tell. It’s important to keep the readers interest and if they’re just reading words, it won’t. They’ll lose their train of thought. But, if you open up the world to them, then you’ll have fans for life.

For instance, in my current WIP, when Hadley is walking up the sidewalk, I get into the weather, the scenery around her and the neighbor that always stops her, keeping her from the tasks at hand. Also her little cottage on the sleepy street in the small town. I go into detail so that the reader has a sense of where she lives and during certain parts of the story, how close she is to possible danger.

So see, you have to be descriptive. Let your reader into your head. It can only make it better for them.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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The scene that makes you cry…

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Good morning! It’s a soggy, cool morning here in Georgia. Sending prayers for all of those affected by the ice storm. Please stay safe!

Now, have you written a scene that makes you cry? I’ve written so many scenes that brought tears to my eyes. And I’ve had readers that said some scenes in my books made them cry. It’s always a compliment when a reader says I made them cry. There’s a difference in the writer crying and the reader doing the same thing. What? How?

This is my opinion on this matter. If I cry, it could be where I’ve been so dedicated to the WIP that I’m overwhelmed with emotion. Or If I’m killing off a character that I love, my heart is broken. But when a reader cries, that means that I did what I was supposed to do. I wrote with feeling and the reader understood it.

So, write that emotion with everything you have!

There’s a scene in Faith Through the Tears that makes me cry like a baby. I’m talking big, fat tears. One reader even mentions to have a tissue box ready.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Writing scenes ahead…

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Good morning from icy Georgia! It’s below freezing and the precipitation falling isn’t rain… Time for the bulky sweaters that collect dust, but I keep them for just this sort of day…

Now, on to the post. Have you ever wrote a scene ahead of time? I keep a notebook beside my laptop for just this thing. And I label them as what they are. About 90% of the time I know in my head how the book ends and if I’m working on the first half and hit a snag, I’ll write the ending. It inspires me to push through the fog that clouds my thoughts sometimes.

But, will those scenes change and evolve as the writing prior to them does. Certainly, but it keeps you focused on the upcoming events. I’ve written several pages of scenes, then totally deleted some of them as the characters went in another direction. But it’s exciting to step ahead and see the future.

Did I say I could see the future? Yes, in my writing I can. So don’t ask me to read tea leaves or anything like that. I can’t see that kind of future. So, start looking ahead in your WIP and see what can be. It will help with the current part of the process.

As always, good writing and <ay God Bless You…


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Don’t rush it… Patience needed!

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What a dreary Monday! Monday’s are a struggle, but when you wake up to rain and bone chilling cold, well, it puts you in the wrong mood. So, let’s talk patience. LOL! Yep, that word that we’ve forgotten existed…

Patience by definition is the ability to take things in stride, not rush into something, without getting upset. In other words, even though you want to do something so badly that you hit the start button before you have everything ready. And that’s where you get into trouble.

Here’s what the Bible says: Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

And I know how hard it is to be patient, especially when you have a new release coming. Here’s an example: You’ve finished your current work in progress, but you need to edit, then send to your editor for more edits, then add those new edits, market for the new release, make sure the cover is ready, etc… You get the point. But the problem with all of this is that it takes time to do all of this, and all of this is important. If you jump into the pot before the grease is hot, well, you’ll just end up soggy.

It’s like putting a puzzle together. You can’t rush to the last piece without putting all of the other pieces together first. It’s impossible, so you have to patiently put the other pieces together. The same with publishing a book. One step at a time…

So, here’s my advice and believe me, I’ve been there and done that. Make sure to check all the boxes before you hit submit. You wouldn’t publish to Amazon before you had a cover, would you? Then don’t publish before you’ve got the steps completed in order to put out the best book you possibly can.

Patience is something we have to work on. Me included. If you feel like you’ve just got to do something, then start on the next project and market like crazy for the one you’re about to release. But make it right the first time and the patience will pay off.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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The story that dies slowly…

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I have several books that started out really good, but then the story lost something. Sometimes when we’re working on a manuscript it loses something and maybe even we lose the story for a moment. Usually I can sit it down for a little while and pick it back up later.

Although some stories do come back in slowly, others just don’t make the cut. I went through my files this weekend and eliminated some stories that started out as a ‘great idea’, but when I tried to create the bones of the story, it flopped. It was like ripping off a Band-Aid, I did it quick and took a deep breath. Maybe one day those ideas will flow back in.

In order for a story to live and become something worth publishing, it has to be strong enough to flesh out. If you can’t even create the bone structure of the story, then how will it ever get to the final stages. After all these years of writing, I’ve learned not to dwell of the things that just don’t work. If it’s starting slow, then put it to the side, work on something else, then come back to it. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 

 


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Indie Publishing… Growing

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3 Ways Indies Can Improve Self-Publishing

As a writer I see a lot of writers come and go in the spot light. It’s amazing how many books are appearing on Amazon and other platforms daily. When I started publishing my work in 2012, you could stay on the front page of new releases for at least 24 hours. Now you’re lucky if you stay there for 24 minutes. 

I’ve found out a couple of things about some of this craziness and that’s the indie authors that haven’t done their homework. Here are 3 of the many ways indies can improve self-publishing and the stigma that goes with it. But also, things have changed on that front too. Now more people are self publishing that ever before.

1: Editing. How many times do you edit your book? I know how exciting it can be to get to the words ‘The End’ and want it out there right then, but that’s a mistake. Make sure you read your work several times and one of those needs to be out loud. I recently went in and revised one of my first published books due to the fact that I put it out there way too fast. Editing is a very important part of the publishing process and as a self-publisher that’s up to you the writer. Also, there are many great editors out there that don’t cost you an arm and leg to hire them. It’s well worth the money and your work will benefit from an extra eye.

2: Cover Design: This is critical. When I look back at my first covers that I designed, I seriously laugh. They were so boring and uninspiring, but being an accountant I didn’t train on creative design software. That’s when I put me assistant to work as my cover designer. She took one look at my work and said ‘not happening’. She went to work and designed the awesome covers that now grace my books. This is the first thing that a potential reader sees. If it doesn’t inspire them, they will go on to the next book. And on top of that, make sure it’s relevant with the book and make it vibrant.

3: The Book Blurb: As a self-publisher this is solely your responsibility. This is one of the hardest things to do for me. Don’t get too out there. Make sure it’s very expressive and use lots of expressive words, but don’t give a lot away. If you give away the ‘who done it’ then there’s no sense reading the book. Make several different ones and have some other people read it. See what they think. Also, in the blurb, give the person a sense of thrill for picking up your book.

This was just a few of the ways that help a self published author. And remember, these are important parts of your book. Of course, the inside is important, but to get someone to actually see the inside, you need to get them to buy it first.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Romance for the ages…

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Good Thursday morning… Romance, some believe in it, some don’t. It’s up to you. As a writer of romance, I believe in the possibility of romance for everyone. You just have to seek it out. Romance can be found in the simplest of gestures.

For some, romance is candles, wine, dancing … you know, the stuff you see when you look up romance, But to me, it’s in the slight touch of ones hand. It’s the look across the table that says I love you unconditionally. Sometimes romance can be found in a mere word, not just the three words in I love you.

When writing romance, authors have to spread romance through normal channels. In a historical romance, it could be the knight saving the damsel in distress. In a paranormal romance, it could be a ghost finding his or her lost love in the afterlife. In a contemporary romance, it could be as simple as buying a set of books for your love. It’s the simple things in life that bring the best romance. And to me, that’s the true romance, when it’s on a whim, not set up like a movie set.

Romance in it’s truest form can be intoxicating and passionate. Some never seek romance, they only seek love. How is that different? To this romance author, it’s worlds apart. You can love someone without romance. Love comes in many forms. You can love your partner and want to be there for every moment, but there may be no romance there. But when you combine love and romance, the possibilities are endless.

Yes, I’m what some call a true romantic. I strive to add romance in my marriage by the simplest things. Every night I make my hubby a sandwich for him to take to work the next day, and sometimes I add heart on the bag just to remind him of the romance we share. Sometimes we share just the touch of our fingertips as we pass in the hallway and just that mere wisp of a touch brings a warm fuzzy romantic feeling. You may think that’s all sappy, but to us, it’s the small things.

Tomorrow my hubby and I will celebrate 27 years of wedded bliss. I can tell you this, the romance hasn’t died and if I have anything to do with it, the romance never will.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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What it takes to write…

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Good Wednesday! It’s chilly here in Georgia. My fingers are stiff and it makes writing difficult, but I’m forging on.

I hear people all the time say, ‘I can write a novel. How hard can it be?’. Sometimes I just let it blow over my shoulders, then other times I look at them and tell them what it takes to write that novel. Usually by the time I’m done, they have changed their mind. So, let’s go through some things it takes to put those words on the paper.

Now, don’t get me wrong, anyone can put words on a paper, but… Words on a paper… What a concept…

To write a novel that actually makes sense, you have to get it in the right order. Make sure that you don’t bust the bubble too early and lose the reader. You have to focus on the ebb and flow of the story line. If you write in a up and down motion, meaning there is constant conflict, then resolution, then more conflict and more resolution, the reader will grow tired. It’s important to have a story within the conflict and resolution. The reader needs to be pulled into your story. It needs a purpose.

And an important part of writing is patience. The words don’t write themselves. You have to be patient as you put your story together. If you just haphazardly write, then you’ll get the wrong result. The story needs to be polished and ready before you send it out. Believe me, I’ve been impatient before and the results were less than mediocre. I’ll never do that again.

So, when someone says they could write a novel, explain to them the process. And I’ve only touched on the many intricacies of getting a story completed that will sell and bring you joy. There are so many facets of the writing process that it would take many posts to accomplish.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Groundhogs…Coffee…Writing

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It’s Groundhog Day! Let’s hope it doesn’t go like the movie. Anyway, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, so six more weeks of winter. Whether you believe the groundhog or not, it’s fun to see what he does and if his predictions come true. But, whatever happens, we can’t do anything to change it, so life goes on.

Here in Georgia we’re finally seeing the sunshine this morning. As I sip my second cup of coffee, I’m reviewing two more chapters of Safe, my current work in process. With temperatures in the upper 20’s, this coffee helps warm me up. These hardwood floors are mighty cold this morning. But, one step outside and I’m reminded how warm it really is inside. The icy air hits your face like a ton of bricks. So, wrap up and stay warm today.

As for writing, this is the month for romance. The question of the day is this, can you squeeze in romance in a crime thriller? The answer is yes. Even a horror can have some romance element without taking away from the story line. For me, adding an element of romance just makes for a better story. Of course, that could be that I’m a romance writer and I try to put romance in everything I do.

With that being said, my new WIP is coming along quite well. It’s full of suspense, dabbled with excitement and a couple of spine tingling moments. I’m starting to really enjoy this new added genre in my romance books. The thrill of mystery keeps my fingers typing and my mind working. I was so enthralled in the story last night that the dog barked and I almost jumped out of my skin. But that’s what makes it fun, to get lost in the story.

In other news, I’ll have a featured article in the Southern Writer’s Magazine a couple of days before Valentines Day, so keep watching for it. It’s such an honor to be able to talk writing on such a wonderful platform. As writers, we need to be able to spread our wings.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…