Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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New series tidbit…

wishful harbor design

Good morning! I hope all of you are doing well. Me, I’m finishing up the first Wishful Harbor book and watching the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas in July. What better inspiration?

This new series has taken me to a new world. I’m getting excited about the upcoming cover reveal, then the release. There’s a little mystery, a lot of small town cuteness and a whole lot of romance, so keep watching for the cover reveal date and final release date.

By the way, if any bloggers would like to take part in either the reveal date or release date extravaganza, then let me know. It would make me extremely grateful.

So, here’s a little tidbit of “Breakwater Lane”

     “Miss Reed, your grandfather left you his business in the will.” The lawyer said in a monotone voice as Jordan sat across the table from him.
     “I’m sorry, what did you say?” Jordan sat forward, trying to understand what the lawyer was telling her.
     “He left you his building, which is in Wishful Harbor.”
     Jordan sat back, covering her mouth with a hand as she gasped. Since she graduated from culinary school, her dream had been to own a bakery, but with college loans money wasn’t actually filling her wallet.
     On top of that, she’d never been close to her grandfather, but when she was small, she’d spend a week every summer in Wishful Harbor with him. The building he owned was at the end of the historical section of the little town. Every day she’d go with him to his little deli and watch him cook and bake. It’s where she’d gained her love of cooking. But then when her parents got a divorce, she moved across the country with her mom. The last time she saw him was when she was thirteen.
     He always knew her love of cooking. Now he was giving her the building that he loved.
“Miss Jordan, if you’ll sign here, we can get the paperwork completed for the transfer of ownership.”
      Then everything happened in a blur. The ownership transferred to her, and she moved back across the country to the little historic town of Wishful Harbor. With the building, she got the apartment that was upstairs.
     Now she stood in front of the building, looking up at the white clapboard sided building with awe and sadness. All the old memories flooded in. This was hers now. She grasped the key tightly in her hand and walked across the sidewalk to gaze into the windows. It was exactly as she remembered, even down to the closed sign in the door.
     She took a deep breath and turned the key in the lock, opening her new life.
     “Hey, can I help you?” A deep male voice said from behind her.
      Jordan jumped, putting her hand on her heart. “Oh my goodness. You scared the life out of me.” Jordan said as she whirled around, looking up in the most amazing set of eyes she’d ever seen. They weren’t blue exactly, but a greenish blue, almost the color of the water in Wishful Harbor just after a storm.
     “I’m sorry, are you Hank’s granddaughter?”
     “Yes.” Jordan reached out her hand to the man. “Jordan.”
     “Glad to meet you Jordan, for the second time.” The man grinned. “Skyler, Skyler Evans.”
Jordan tilted her head, curious. “Second time. I don’t understand. Have we met before?”
     “We met behind the building. I was fishing and you were falling into the water. I dove in and saved you.” Skyler said, crossing his muscular arms across his chest with a grin.
“Oh, I didn’t recognize you,” Jordan said with a giggle as she remembered the incident that he was speaking of. She also remembered the crush she’d had on it.
      “I can imagine. You ran away as soon as I saved you.” Skyler said with a little sarcasm lacing his voice. He remembered the spoiled little girl that she’d been. Now he saw a beautiful young woman but had she lost her spoiled ways.
      “Well, I was so embarrassed. I’d been showing off in front of you, then fell over the side of the dock.” Jordan said with a grin as she put her purse on the table, turning to look around. “So, you stayed here?”
     “It’s my home. I can’t imagine living anywhere other than Wishful Harbor.”
     “But didn’t you want to get out and enjoy life?”
     Skyler scowled, bringing his brows together in anger. “I see you haven’t changed a bit.”
Jordan whirled back around to face him, confusion in her eyes. “Excuse me.”
     “You were a spoiled brat then, and I see you’re still a spoiled brat.” Skyler turned to walk out the door.
     At first, Jordan watched him walking out the door, then she ran after him. “Hey, wait a minute. Why are you calling me a spoiled brat?”
     Skyler stopped, not turning around. “Lady, you don’t have a clue about small town life. It’s a way of life that some enjoy. Not everyone wants to travel or go to large cities.” Then he turned around, looking down at her. “And I do enjoy life, every day.”
     “But that doesn’t make me a spoiled brat.”
     “I don’t have time for this.” Skyler started across the road toward a big red truck.
     “But I’m not a spoiled brat,” Jordan said, trying to reason with this stubborn man.
     Skyler just motioned with his hand that he wasn’t impressed. Then he climbed into the truck and drove away as Jordan stood on the sidewalk watching him.

Hope you enjoyed this small tidbit of the first chapter. I know you’ll fall in love with the small New England town of Wishful Harbor as well as the characters that fill the pages of all five books in the series. The first book, Breakwater Lane has Jordan and Skyler. They will make you laugh and cry as they try to get reacquainted.

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…

By the way, Highlander’s Son came out this week…

 


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Dreams of a young woman…

It’s Friday! Hope you have something great planned this weekend. As for me, we have VBS at Church next week, so I’ll be busy setting up this weekend, then Sunday we’re having a huge celebration to kick it off. I love the excitement that surrounds all the preparations, but I really should lay off the coffee when designing the decor for VBS.

Dreams… We all have them… I’m not talking about the dreams you have while asleep, I’m talking about the ones that push you forward and make you strive to do what you love. When I was a preteen, all I dreamed about was being a concert pianist and playing at concert halls all over the world. I spent at least two hours a day practicing. Also, I took piano and organ lessons for several years. I was lucky enough to be offered the chance at a full scholarship in music, but at the time, I was engaged and turned it down. (And I’m no longer with that man, so that was a bad move) But, everything has a reason. If I’d gone through with that, where would I be today? I often wonder that.

Another dream as a child was to write. Well… I’m living that dream now, although it took me a while to realize this dream. When I was a teenage girl, I’d lay across my bed and fill notebooks full of stories. Some were crazy and unbelievable, but others, well they had some merit. Ghost Lover, my first published novel, and my first bestseller was based on one of those stories penned by a dream filled teenager.

Some days I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not literally dreaming. The stories still fill my head and some days I sit in a daydream, living out the stories in my mind. But, isn’t that what a writer does. To me, the stories take on real life. The characters become important and like old friends. My daydreams then spill out of my fingers onto the pages of the books I’ve published. It’s such an exciting thing when you write. Your daydreams come to life.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Highlander’s Son is coming in just days…

highlanders son front cover


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When the plot changes…

Good morning! I hope everyone had a great 4th…

I’ve been working on the first book in my newest series and it’s going along well, but a change has come over the story. Of course, I blame the characters for the turn in the plot. I had the story figured out, then midway, a bump in the road turned into a whole new world.

But, do you go off down the rabbit’s hole or not? My advice is to always make sure the plot is going somewhere. What do I mean? Well, you have to double check where the plot is headed and can you make it work. Don’t go down the plot black hole. I’ve been there and it’s a painful way to go.

With the new plot line, I’ve checked all the different roads it could take and I’m satisfied with the direction it’s headed. I even outlined the new plot and it works. So, now I’m off to finish the story so I can share it with everyone.

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…

Just a little promotional reminder… Highlander’s Son is coming in a couple of days! highlanders son front cover

 


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Editing is like Detoxing for writers!

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Good morning! As you can see, I’m eating healthy. This week I’m doing a mild Grapefruit detox, trying to get the bad stuff out of my system so I can jumpstart this summer weight loss. So far it’s working, but we’ll see…

Editing… That word that writers have a love-hate relationship with. But if you think about it, Editing is like detoxing the work. When we write, we go straight to the point of the matter, but sometimes, we need to take a step back. We need to analyze what we’ve written.

Take for example: Words misused or misspelled. If left to sit in the gut of the manuscript, it will weigh your work down. Here’s a piece of advice from someone that sent out a piece of work that had some extra unwanted weight, for this example we’ll call it sludge. Don’t let your baby go out without making sure everything is clean and ready. I sent out a manuscript, to the world, and it wasn’t ready. Some of the comments were nice, but held a little advice, ‘go back and edit’. They all said it was a good story, but it needed to be looked at again to make it a great story. Needless to say, this was in the first year of my publishing career.

So… I went into detox mode. I sat down with my manuscript, printed in double space and a red pen. Yes, a horrid, red pen. A writer’s nightmare, but I took a deep breath and did it. I actually cringed with the first page and it got worse from there. I printed every comment I received and used them as a guideline. As I delved deeper into the story, the sludge was so heavy that I couldn’t believe I’d actually sent this out into the world.

Needless to say, I almost used up all the ink in the pen. Now, don’t get me wrong, the story itself stayed the same, but the wording was a little different. I gave it a lot of grapefruits, I mean editing and to my surprise, when I sent it back out as a revised edition, some of the same people reviewed it again. They loved it. I’d taken the heavy bags of sludge that kept my story from taking flight and it became a bestseller within a couple of weeks.

So, when you finished your masterpiece, go back through it again and again. Then send to your editor. If you can’t afford an editor, then you have to be the chief and pull on your gloves. Make the hard choices, delete the bad grammar, and make your work soar!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Beginning…???…Ending

Has this ever happened to you? You sit down with a story in mind and it’s a great story. You know it like you know yourself. Your fingers hover over the keyboard. The words flow easily from your fingertips. Everything is good with the world, then snap… something happens and you stop writing. The words are gone…

This happened to me recently. I was working on a manuscript that I’ve been trying to finish for some time and it was going along good, then …………. Yep, that’s how it went, nothing. It’s like I had the beginning and the ending, but the middle was a huge, gaping black hole. I couldn’t see it for nothing. The sad thing is, I had it completely outlined, but the middle part wouldn’t come together, at all.

So, you might ask, what did I do? Well, here’s what I did and if you’ve ever experienced this black hole, I hope it helps you too. Of course, this is not a tried and true method…

1: I stepped back. I looked at the screen before me and it was blank, just as the story had gone in my head. That’s when I took a deep breath, stood up and walked away from my laptop. I had to put distance between me and the story. That’s not easy to do when the characters are screaming loudly in your head.

2: After a cup of coffee to clear my head, I picked up the outline, knowing there had to be a way to get this story flowing again. I knew I had it right there in the outline, but it refused to come out. So, I read the outline, several times, but nothing.

3: In complete frustration, I put aside the notes, outline, and anything to do with the story. Now, don’t think the characters were quiet. No, they were ticked off at this point. They were screaming so loud, that I had to do something, so I started the next manuscript that was in line on my schedule. It helped quiet them somewhat, but they were still pulling at me.

4: As I worked on the other manuscript, pieces of the other story filled my head. You as writers know all too well the problems that can cause. I pulled out my notebook for the other story and as things came filtering through, I wrote them down. But, I didn’t work on it, I just jotted down notes. Pretty soon I had a couple of pages of notes.

5: Then, one morning as I sipped my coffee, scanning through my emails, social media, and work in progress, getting ready to start my writing session, it came flowing in. At first, I was afraid to give it a chance. I was afraid that if I got started again and it quit, I’d end up chucking it altogether. But, that’s when it hit me, write the ending. So, that’s what I did. I wrote the ending that I knew so well in my head. The moment I hit the end, I knew the middle as though it had been lurking there the whole time, it just needed the guts to move forward. Once I knew where the story was headed, the middle came in so fast that my fingers could hardly keep up.

So, sometimes you have to iron out the ending to get to the guts of the story. That’s what happened with ‘Highlanders Son’. I had to know that my characters would be alright and that the story would hold up. Once I finished the first draft, I could breathe again. It was done.

I’ve written things in the wrong order before, but never because it was the only way to finish the story. Most of the time I do it because the ending comes to me louder than the beginning, but it’s always there. With Highlander’s Son, it wasn’t there anymore. I had to get it back straight in my mind. The funny thing was, once it was completed, I looked at my outline and it was just as I’d envisioned it, to begin with. With a smile, I printed it, handed it to my editor and knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt that if that happened again, I’d immediately go to step five above and finish the story…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

“Highlander’s Son” is coming soon…

highlanders son front cover


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Stepping up the game…

Good Monday morning! Wow, the weekend seemed way too short, but today is a new day. With a new day, starts a new game…

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, well, it’s promotion of our books. Look, you know as well as I do that the competition is steep. We have to make sure that our book outshines the thousands of other books in our genres. Some days it seems useless, but then the writer in me say, keep pushing.

For me, I’ve stepped up my game. How you might ask? Well, here’s how. I’ve stopped trying to be on every social media site out there. That’s just plain out exhausting and a waste of writing time trying to keep up with all of it. My main goal is to blog, keep my website interesting, and promote on a few social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Also, I’m making sure that all of my more than 30 books are on Allauthor.com. If you haven’t checked out this site, I suggest you do. You can put up to four of your books on there under the free membership and then set up automatic tweets. With as many books as I have, I went ahead and did the paid membership.

Don’t forget to build up your newsletter subscribers. I’ve met so many wonderful people through my newsletter and blog. Which if you can, keep posting several times a week. make it interesting and fun.

So, how will you step up your game?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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When the plot changes…

Well, it’s a foggy Saturday morning in Georgia.  That sounds like the opening line of a story. Yes, I’m in a writing mood this morning, so watch out word count, here I come.

Speaking of writing, have you ever been in the middle of a manuscript and the plot changes. I mean, you’re headed in one direction, then the story takes a turn in a different direction. That’s what happened in the manuscript I just finished. You see, I had it all figured out. I thought I knew where the characters were headed and what the ending would be like, but guess what? The plot changed. (The plot is the direction the story is going, like directing the main events that lead to the ending, you know, the backbone of the storyline.)

Sometimes when you’re writing a story, the characters seem to have a mind of their own. In Highlander’s Son, I had it all in my mind, but something wasn’t working. Now, the outline looked good and when I sat and plotted it out months ago, it seemed to work well. But once I was deep into the manuscript, over halfway completed, I realized that the plot was changing. I had to make a change or the story would flop.

It’s scary to change the plot of a story when you’re almost done. But once I got it in my head where the characters had to go to complete the story, I was on a roll. It turned out that the plot change worked and the story was complete.

Highlander’s Son took a turn in the plot and headed in a totally different direction. It’s at that moment that you throw the outline out the window at 70 mph and never look back. I have to say that when the plot changes, sometimes you have to just follow it’s lead or you’ll end up with a manuscript that is cut up in the editor’s floor, never to see the light of day.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Here’s a look at the cover for Highlander’s Son, which is coming out very, very soon!

highlanders son front cover