Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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If your story falls apart, use Duct Tape!

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Duct tape is a house staple, just as salt, sugar and flour are food staples. For many years people have fixed almost everything with duct tape. At Church we even fixed a broken Christmas tree with duct tape, no really we did. It’s strong and durable. Also you can get it in any width and color so it’s versatile.

What if your story is falling apart? We all have those manuscripts that start out really good and we have a phenomenal ending planned, but the middle has so many holes and fractures that it puts a real stink on the beginning and ending. Well, put a little duct tape on it. What am I talking about? Well, here goes the answer in a nutshell.

By duct tape I mean sit down with your beginning and ending. Then really look at it. Where is the character headed? The middle needs some suspense or issue that needs to carry the reader over the hump to the end. It needs something that only the ending can shed some light on. This is where the duct tape comes in.

As I said above, duct tape is strong and durable with lots of versatility, so the middle of the book needs to be taped up neatly. But be careful not to just add fluffy filler that makes the reader fall asleep with boredom. If the first of the book is power packed, then make the middle explode with tension. This is the strong duct tape. Add an element of complete surprise. Let the main character have a major problem that needs solving, or maybe a secret that is threatening to come out, but the secret has to be life altering.

But make sure that it can mesh with your great ending. I did this one time and a book that started out being only around 30,000 words went over 50,000 words with a little duct tape application. Crazy, but true. I had this really great beginning that pulled you in and the ending left you breathless, but the middle was just a bunch of fluff. As I did my first read through I was almost dozing and that’s not good. I sat down and spread out the beginning and ending, then totally restructured my characters. I added a whole new dimension to them that took them on an adventure that meshed well with the ending and soon I had a complete story that I was proud to hit the publish button on.

So, get you some duct tape and pull that story together. If you use the right duct tape it will hold together nicely.

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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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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3 reasons to plan out your story…

After a day trip to the North Georgia mountains yesterday, I feel refreshed and exhausted. Why is it that when you take a long, although beautiful drive, it just drains you? That’s kind of how a story without a plan can do to writers. As in the picture below, without a plan, your story could collapse around you and leave you with something that is unstable.

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As you’ve read over and over in my blogs, I try my best to plan out as much of my books as possible. So, here are my three top reasons that I do that:

  1. Map out the story. In my opinion, and opinions vary like the fall leaves, but my thoughts are this. If you map out the story, you know, get the feeling of the ups and downs, then you can build the ebb and flow better. It helps to keep your focus on the writing, not the building up of the plot.
  2. Character development. I have to plan my characters. Although some of their flaws don’t come out until midway of the story. But most of my character development is done beforehand. I need to get to know them so that I can correctly write their stories.
  3. Know your ending. And yes, sometimes the ending sneaks up on you out of the blue and everything changes. That’s writing. BUT, when you get started, have an idea of where your story is headed. When stories come into my head, I most of the time, see the beginning and the ending first. Sometimes it’s the ending that pulls the story into my heart. If the characters are to be wed at the end, then you need to make the rest of the story head in that direction.

So, as I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, this may not work for everyone, but it does for me. I’ve already got the bones of the five books of the series I’m doing in 2021. Everyday my mind goes through the storylines, the character details and yes, where I want each book to end.

I hope my post helps you get past your writers block or maybe just helps you develop your story more.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Friday Sneak Peek…

Can you believe we made it to Friday? It’s been a long and crazy week. But here we are, Friday again…

So, as many of you know, I plan my books ahead of time. It just keeps me from going crazy. I have got a new series coming out in 2021 and there will be five books. My plan is to only publish those five, which is something I haven’t done in a while, publish that few books. But, this will be a longer more detailed series than I’ve ever written.

You may be asking, what is different about this new series. Well, it’s a Christian Suspense Romance series. I’m not ready to give you a look at the completed covers, which are amazing. I have the best cover designer. And I’m not ready to give you the titles or the series name. So, what is the post giving you a sneak peek of? Glad you asked…

I have two more books left in the schedule for 2020. One of them will actually come out in January, but it’s from my 2020 schedule. This has been an unusual year, and we’ll leave it at that. But it did a lot to my writing schedule that I had no control over.

Tomorrow is release day for Bay Street, the last book in the Wishful Harbor Series. And the first week of December will be the release of Wine, wedding, and The Cowboy, the last book in the Tangled Vines Series. Then last, but certainly not least, in January will be the release of Double Take At Mistletoe Ranch, the last book in my bestselling Mistletoe Ranch Series. That’s a lot of series to close out, but with the new series coming out, I needed some closure.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be releasing a little bit about each of the five new books coming out in 2021. Let’s just say, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone with these. It will take a lot out of me, mentally. But I’m so excited about it. This series has been coming to me for a couple of years, but I just wasn’t ready to do it. Now I am. So keep watching for exciting news to come.

As always, Good Writing and May God Bless You…

I’ll leave you will the last three covers of this writing year!

Releases November 7th
Releases December 4th
Releases January, 29, 2021


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Christmas on my mind…

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Who else is ready for Christmas season to get in full swing? I can’t wait to smell the scent of our fresh cut Christmas tree. Or the scent of gingerbread baking. And let’s not forget the peppermint mocha warming our bellies.

I love everything about Christmas. And writing a Christmas romance always fills my soul with happiness. There’s something about a couple finding romance during the Christmas season that makes everything else seem to just disappear.

There is nothing more special than sitting by the tree with the twinkling lights and Christmas music playing in the background. Oh and let’s not forget the hot chocolate with little marshmallows. And yes, I know you can have that any time of the year, but at Christmas, it’s so much better.

So, what are you most excited about for Christmas?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Wednesday giggles…

Have you ever been writing and went back to read over what you’d written? Sometimes you have to sit back and go, what the heck was I thinking…

I had one of those moments just now. It was a LOL moment. I have no clue what I was trying to say, but I had to delete almost a whole paragraph.

That’s why we edit, edit, and edit some more. Then we send to an editor, then edit some more. Sometimes I really think I’m drunk when I write some of my words. But, as I’ve said a thousand times, it’s a rough draft people.

So, happy Wednesday people…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Come by and follow me on BookBub to keep up with all of my new releases!

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/stephanie-payne-hurt


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MONDAY Coffee is the best!

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Can you believe it’s already Monday? And we’re already in November? This has been a crazy year, hasn’t it?

On my first cup of coffee, I dread Monday…

On my second cup of coffee, I figure it’s not going away, so…

On my third cup of coffee, I think I can do this…

As I turn the pot up, I know I can do this because in reality, it’s just another day…

Pardon me while I go make another pot!

Make it a great day with a smile and some coffee. Well, in my case, a lot of coffee!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Wishful Harbor

Well, another series is in the books so to say… Wishful Harbor will be complete on the 7th when Bay Street releases. It’s so sad to see the characters go, but this series has brought me so much joy. So, let’s go to wishful Harbor for a moment…

This is a series about the small New England town of Wishful Harbor. Each story can be read as a standalone or part of the series. They are filled with romance, mystery and small-town charm.

Book 1

Breakwater Lane

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.

Book 2

Hideaway Lane

When a small fire in Julie’s bookstore brings the firemen, she’s shocked to find out one of them is her old high school crush, Paul Wells. Paul can’t believe his luck, so he asks her to the town festival. He’s now the owner of the Christmas tree farm on Hideaway Lane, the one Julie has been going to all her life. But, when the bank threatens to take the farm from him, Julie steps in to help. Romance blooms in this story of old crushes, Christmas spirit, and small-town charm.

Book 3

Inlet Circle

In the small town of Wishful Harbor, life is good, that is until things go wrong. When Lacey, the owner of One More Cup, the local coffee shop slides on the ice and right into the side of Chip’s truck, the sparks fly. Chip has come to town to take over ownership of the Inlet Cove Inn. Neither of them is ready for anything more than friendship, but when they’re stranded at the Inn with no power for twenty-four hours, they think that maybe love could heal old wounds. But, only time will tell in this sweet, small-town romance.

Book 4

Pier Cove

A SmallTown Romance filled with adventure and sweet romance…
Marly loves anything old, so what starts out as a hobby, turns into a business. Since she’s a treasure diver in her spare time, she’s thrilled when the opportunity arises to run a store in the historical seaside town of Wishful Harbor.
Liam is a third-generation owner of the Wishful Harbor marina. He is interested in knowing more about the new resident of Wishful Harbor. They hit it off as friends almost immediately.
When she hears the old tale of a shipwreck off the end of the lighthouse cape, she enlists Liam’s help to find the treasure, although he’s not a fan of taking her to the wreck. When her old boyfriend gets wind of it, he shows up wanting to take what she’s trying to find.
Together, Marley and Liam work to find the treasure, along with Liam’s granddad Liam. The friendship starts to make a turn into something more, but neither are sure as their pasts try to keep them from having a future.
This is a sweet romance, full of adventure and laughs. The small town of Wishful Harbor is a treasure to be found, and everyone there is family.

Book 5

Bay Street

Bailey Garrett moved to Wishful Harbor looking for a new start. A month before moving to Wishful Harbor, her mother died, and she found out her stepfather was a liar, a thief, and a con artist.

Sherriff Scott Wick hears who is opening the souvenir shop in town, he makes it his business to keep an eye on her hoping she isn’t anything like her stepfather.

Then as mysterious things start happening around Bailey, it doesn’t take Scott long to see that darkness follows Bailey around every corner. Will Scott be able to keep her safe or will her past consume both of them?

In the exciting conclusion of the Wishful Harbor series there will be mystery, adventure, and romance.

Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane.

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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