Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Throwback Thursday…Ghost Lover

Ghost Lover 2 full cover

Ghost Lover was the first book I published officially. It’s my baby of sorts… So here’s a chapter from Ghost Lover…

Chapter 16

She walked into the stables and leaned on a post just inside the doors. She sniffed the air for a hint of the scent she’d smelt earlier. It wasn’t long before the scent went by her nose. She stood very still and let the wind direction lead her nose. She could tell it was coming from the back of the stable around the door that led to the back field.

Her eyes had gotten accustomed to the darkness. She searched the shadows for any sign of movement. She was holding her breath. What could it be? Suddenly there was slow movement in one corner. She put her hand up to her mouth. Her feet were rooted to the floor. Was she in danger? But she felt perfectly safe.

A shape formed out of the shadows. It was a man in a cowboy hat. She couldn’t see his face only the dark shape. Was this an illusion or ghost? She was drawn to the shadow by some unknown feeling.

“Who are you and why are you here? Do I know you?”

“You know me, but he won’t let you remember me.” The voice was low and haunting.

“Should I be afraid of you?” She suddenly realized that she should be afraid, but she couldn’t move.

“I’d never harm you.” He slowly moved closer but still in the shadows.

“Why’re you here in the shadows? Why don’t you come into the moonlight so that I can see you?” She noticed he lowered his head and then looked back at her.

“I don’t want you to see me this way. I want you to remember me before you look at my face.” The sadness in his voice did something inside her heart.

“What’s wrong? Have you been injured in some way?” Her heart went out to him.

“Yes, I was burned in an accident. I want you to remember what we had before you see me.”

“What was our relationship?” Her heart was racing. She thought it would come out of her chest it was beating so hard.

“You’ll remember it. I don’t want to rush your memories. When you remember, you’ll know me.” Why did she want to reach out to this person so much?

“Were we friends?” Could this be the man in her dreams that she couldn’t see his face? Had he been scarred when she knew him before her accident?

“Yes, we’re very close. I know you have me locked in your memory and it’ll come out.” He reached his hand out of the shadows and stroked her face. His touch set off an electrical charge through her veins.

“Are you a ghost?” He laughed softly and the sound set her mind reeling.

“What do you think?” She tried to see him through the shadows, but couldn’t see his face.

“I think you’re the man that has haunted my dreams since I lost my memory.” Her voice was little more than a whisper as she spoke.

“How do you feel about me in your dreams?” He was slowly moving closer.

“I feel confused because I can’t see your face and remember who you are?” She reached her hand up to try to touch his face, but he gently grabbed her hand and put it to his heart. She could feel it beating wildly.

“Can you feel my heart beating? You’re what keeps my heart beating.” His voice was rough with emotion.

He looked up suddenly and pulled her into the shadows. She gasped, not out of fear, but surprise.

“Someone’s coming, but I need you to promise me that you’ll keep Thomas at arm’s length. He’s a danger to you.”

“What kind of danger? He said he’s my husband.” She could hear the footsteps getting closer.

“Just trust me; he’s not your husband.” He put his hands on both sides of her face and kissed her so gently that she almost lost her footing. “Don’t tell him about me. I’ll be here waiting for you tomorrow night at midnight.” He slowly went back into the shadows. She could hardly catch her breath.

“Jess, are you in here?” She could hear Thomas calling her, but her brain wouldn’t let her speak. He grabbed her arm and turned her toward him.

“What are you doing down here at night, alone? Have you lost leave of your senses?” She could tell he was angry and worried.

“I couldn’t sleep, so I came down here to check on Ghost Lover. I’m fine; no harm’s come to me.” Her eyes kept going to the shadows. Had she just kissed a man or a ghost? Was she losing it?

“Well, let’s go back to the house. You don’t need to be roaming around by yourself at night when nobody knows where you’re at, especially in your condition.”

They walk back to the house. Her mind completely lost in thought. All she could think about was what she’d experienced. Was he real or her imagination?

When they got inside and were on the way upstairs Thomas stopped her. “What were you thinking? It’s almost one in the morning. What if you’d fallen or someone had grabbed you?”

“I was completely safe. I doubt very seriously anyone would’ve been in the stables at midnight and I didn’t fall. I needed some air.” She started back up the stairs. Remembering what she’d heard the man or whatever he was, say about Thomas.

He followed her into the bedroom. She climbed into the bed and watched him come around the other side. “What are you doing?”

He looked up and smiled, “Well, we are married and this is where I usually sleep, beside my wife.” He grinned and got into bed beside her. He planned on acting like a real husband soon. He could only hold himself away for so long, especially when her warm body was lying beside him at night. He was hoping to sweep her off her feet.

He leaned over her and she pushed him away. “Have you lost your mind? I still don’t remember being married to you and I can’t have that kind of relationship with you until I do remember.” She jumped out of the bed and grabbed her pillow. “I’m going down the hall to one of the other rooms. Goodnight.”

He just laid back and smiled. She’d be putty in his hands before long. He just knew he was getting through to her.

She had a very restless night. She dreamed of a beautiful cabin. She could see herself walking toward a stable door. She was looking for someone, but whom? She was almost to the door when the stables exploded. She woke up screaming and sweating profusely. Thomas came through the door running and pulled her into his arms. “Not another nightmare. You should’ve stayed with me. Come on back to our room.”

“No, I’ll be fine.” She couldn’t even stand to be near him all of a sudden. Why’d she feel this way about her own husband or was he? Could the man in her dream be right?”

“Okay, but I’ll be right down the hall if you need me.” He walked out and left the door open.

She finally was able to fall asleep, but her dreams were restless. She had to make sure that she was in the stables at midnight. She had to know if he was real or part of her imagination, but he felt too real. Her heart was pounding hard just thinking about him. Why’d she react to a man she didn’t know? Why’d he warn her about Thomas?

As I said, this was my first book I published. My writing style has changed so much since I published this one. But my heart is still with romance.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Thursday and keep on writing!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Perfect grammar… LOL!

Good Tuesday morning! This morning I have a wee bit of a rant. And you know I don’t rant often, but this morning I have to get this off my chest, so get ready and here we go…

As a writer we’re supposed to have perfect grammar, right? Well, I need to ask something. Do you always speak with perfect grammar? I read an article last week about your characters needing to have normal conversations and don’t make it too formal, but then writing 101 says to make sure you use perfect grammar. We don’t always in normal conversation talk in perfect grammar, so what are we supposed to do as writers?

So, I’m going rebel. What does that mean? Well, it means that I’m going to write my dialogue like I talk, which may make editors cringe, but I want my readers to enjoy the work I publish. I’ve had comments on previous work stating that it was too formal and normal people don’t talk like that, so I am going rogue…

Also, to further give my rant a purpose, I’ve read several books by famous, best-selling authors that use normal talk and they do well. Some are even horrible in the grammar department, but they are best sellers and the readers don’t seem to mind at all.

Now, with all of that said, I don’t mean using the wrong form of a word or wrong punctuation. I’m talking about in the dialogue between my characters, so don’t think I’m putting up my English 101 book.

Of course, this will make my editor happy.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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When the story knocks on your door…

Good morning! It’s Friday. Can you believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner? Wow! Time is flying.

So, as a writer, I’ve had so many stories running through my head. But sometimes I feel like a story doesn’t hold enough punch to actually publish. Then there are those stories that come at you and take your breath away. Those are the ones that make you push everything you’re working on aside to get them written.

I’m working on one of those at the moment. It’s been simmering for a while, but it was just simmering, not boiling over. Well, in the last couple of weeks it’s beginning to move past simmer into boiling. It’s like I can see everything so clear. The characters, the places, and the story, but as a writer, you know how it goes when you start to put it on paper, there are holes that need to be filled in.

The first day I worked on the manuscript, I typed the whole first chapter without slowing down. It was exciting. The funny thing is, I haven’t outlined it, yet… And if you’ve read my blog long enough, you know I’m an outliner.

So, what are you working on today? Anything that took you by surprise, or maybe just slipped in gradually?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Closing a story…

It’s looking to be a rainy Monday here in Georgia, but I’m smiling. This weekend I published Promises Forgotten, the 2nd book in the Sky Ridge Series. I’m super stoked about that release. But I have another surprise for my readers…

I published a book in 2013 that was left on a cliffhanger. The book held my heart in many ways, but the 2nd book seemed to stay just far enough away that I couldn’t get it to work right. Every time I started to write the 2nd book, it would slip away. Well, it all came flowing in a couple of weeks ago, coming in like a tidal wave. Then on Saturday, I wrote the last word with a satisfied sigh.

It’s so crazy. When I was writing the first book, Open the Heart, the continued story was at the tip of my tongue, but then it just went away. So, as some authors do, I put it away until it came back. I didn’t want to do the first book injustice or the characters. I’m excited that Lacey’s Choice is about to be published.

So, as I drift through this haze of accomplishment, I hope all of you have a fantastic day!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Lacey's Choice front cover

 


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Outlines, Notebooks & other such things…

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It’s Saturday morning and I’m ready for a little rest and restoration. Of course, you know I’ll be writing, it’s my Saturday thing to do. When you run a busy accounting office, most of your intense writing comes on your days off.

Take notes... You'll need them later...

Now with intense writing sessions, you have to use your time wisely. This is where detailed notes and outlines come in handy. When I sit down to write, I like to have everything at my fingertips. If I’m writing a book, say, for instance, Breakwater Lane, I want to have my character information close at hand. Why? Well, it helps me to just look at the character list beside me. If I forget a secondary characters name, I just glance at the list and keep going. But without this list, well, I’d have to go back to where I last wrote about them to check. That takes away valuable writing time.

Outlines are helpful…

I’m an outliner, most of the time. When a story comes into my head, I like to sit down and outline it while it’s fresh. If the story comes in bits and pieces as some do, then I just write down the basics of what has come to my head. As with Sky Ridge Series, I have in my head what each of the three books will be covering, but without the outline, I’d overtake the story from the next book. I want to make sure that each book covers its own situation.

Don’t let a lack of organization throw you off track…

Some people say that outlines mess them up and that’s ok. Everyone has their own style. It’s the way we’re made. But for me, outlines keep me focused on the story at hand. You might ask if I’ve ever changed a story from the outline? Yes, several times. Take, for instance, Finding the Right Time. I had it completely outlined, but my characters would not behave and they went off script. If you’re not a writer, that might sound a little off, but it’s true. Characters can have a mind of their own and they go off down the rabbit hole, leaving the outline in the dust. That’s when you pick up the outline, dust it off, then adjust as needed. It works, believe me.

Notebooks… Notebooks… Notebooks…

Now, I have notebooks for each of my series. I keep details about characters that are in each book. That way I keep up with who died, who left to never be heard of again and such as that. On my stand-alone’s, I don’t always have a dedicated notebook, just an outline with notes in the margins. I put the characters at the top, then the outline. But the notes in the margins can be added characters, character flaws or just location descriptions. Anything you think will be needed later, add it.

It only takes a second to lose that train of thought…

So, to sum up, my rambling from above, if you feel disoriented or unorganized when writing, it’s normal. But there are ways to make it easier on yourself. These are just a couple of the things I do.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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As we grow older…

Good morning! Last night I attended my 30-year class reunion. I don’t feel like it’s been 30 years since we were all crazy high school students just making our way through class and life. But the funny thing is, it has been.

We all grow older, but the heart stays the same in many ways. As I spoke with everyone last night, I realized, we haven’t changed that much in 30 years. Everyone has the same smile, the same laugh, just maybe a few added wrinkles from many years of life and laughter. But at the heart of it, we’re all still the same people we were 30 years ago when we walked across that field, scared to death of what lay ahead, but sure we’d make the world a better place.

It’s crazy the memories that flood in when you get together with people from your past. Some are good, others sad, but mostly, you remember all the many aspects of those years together. Most of us were in school together all the way through, which meant we spent a lot of time together. Even after all these years, we know one another and nothing can erase the memories we’ve shared, even time.

So, now you know I’m a sap, not that you didn’t know that already. And yes, as I watched the video of our pictures scrolling by, I had a tear dot the corner of my eye. We can’t go back to that wonderful time, except in our minds, but we can remember the days when we were fresh and new beings just trying to get by. We can remember the ones we’ve lost over the years and smile, knowing that we were part of this great thing we call life.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Saturday Cover Reveal!

Wow! The sun is shining this morning. It inspires me to have the sun coming in through the window as I write. I guess you could say it brightens my mind.

Since Breakwater Lane is on its final edit before release day, I’m working on the 2nd book of the Sky Ridge Series. The first book in the series did well and continues to do well in the charts. I’m excited to get book two out as it continues the story.

Here’s the beautiful cover that my cover designer made and I must say, I want to be there it’s so beautiful!

Promises Forgotten front cover

This series is full of sweet romance and drama. It’s a clean read, so if you like a clean romance where you can fall in love with the characters, then this is the one for you… But I suggest that you read Promises Made first. Promises Forgotten will be out soon, but I’ll keep you posted as soon as the release date is set!

Hope all is well with you this weekend and that you’re getting in some writing or reading whichever is your pleasure. As for me, it’s writing and a bit of reading. I have to keep my mind flowing you know.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…