Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Friday’s Second Cup…

Good Friday morning! We’re finally almost to the weekend. My short vacation is almost over, but that’s alright since tax season is over with, I’ll have a little more time to relax. For now, I’m sipping my second cup of coffee, baking blueberry muffins and looking forward to my third cup of coffee…15357511258_cbf39f66bb

So, now that I’m back to a regular writing schedule, I’m back on my works in progress. I have four books in the works, two almost complete. Now to get back into the groove and push those words out.

It’s amazing when you take a short break from writing, the words still come in. My mind swirled with words constantly. It was hard not to sit down at my laptop and put them into my manuscripts, but time wasn’t there to do this.  Of course, as a writer, this was a difficult time. Especially with my characters screaming at me on a daily basis. But the characters have calmed some since I’m back to writing.

So, what is everyone working on? Me, I’m working on Lacey’s Choice, Highlander’s Son, Georgia and a new series, which I’ll let you in on a little later.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Thursday Thoughts…

Good morning! For some reason this morning I feel excited that something is about to happen with my writing. I felt this way just before I made it to the top 55 in Harlequin’s SYTYCW contest in 2015 and also right before I submitted Tuscany to Solstice. But I don’t know what it is this time.

You may be asking, Stephanie, do you have anything submitted to a publisher, and my answer would be no. I guess, but don’t know, it’s the feeling of a coming announcement or maybe the new series that I’m starting in a couple of months, which by the way is really, really exciting for me. I don’t know. It’s just this strange but delightful feeling that has me humming and singing, thank goodness I’m alone in the house at the moment 😉

So, how are you feeling today? Any news to share?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

P. S. If you haven’t joined my newsletter, then give it a whirl. I just hit send on my latest newsletter this morning. It’s easy to join and I don’t fill your inbox with needless chatter, just upcoming releases, and sales…  www.stephaniehurtauthor.com

 

 

 


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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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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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Authors Beware…Part 2

It’s Friday folk! Seemed to take long enough to get here, but hope you enjoy the day!

On the heels of yesterday’s post, I’m going to talk about another scary subject, Piracy! One of the comments yesterday mentioned that and it’s a real threat to authors in today’s world of the internet, but what can we do?

Sadly, there’s not a lot you can do. Always make sure that you have a copyright page inside the first few pages of your book. Some authors, although it can get costly, actually get a legal copyright for their work. But, most of us can’t afford to do this type of thing.

One of the things I do is to do a search every week on my name, and my book name. This will pull up some of these sites. I’ve had trouble with this since just after I published my first book. You’ll know the sites that shouldn’t have your book because most of the time they have weird names and they’re offering your book as a free download.

Once you locate them, I suggest you do a little research on them, then email them and see how they received your book. That will be entertaining in itself. Then demand they take it down immediately or you will take legal action. Of course, they will probably take that site down and move on to another one, but at least you have them hopping.

A big time author told me once that if your book is being pirated, then don’t worry about it. She said that at least that means that it’s making headlines. She said most pirate sites only look for books they know will make them money. I’m not sure if people have to subscribe to these sites, but somehow they’re making money off our work. She said that yes, it’s a horrible thing, but to hold my chin up. Some days that’s hard to do knowing that your work has been stolen and you won’t make that royalty.

So, search yourself at least once a week, and write down a list of suspect sites. You’ll be glad you did. At least you’ll be proactive on the situation.

Let me know how you’ve combated piracy…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Writer Beware!!!

Good morning! It’s almost the weekend folks, so just be patient, it will come…

We as writers want to sell books, right? But, at what lengths will we go or how much money will we spend in order to sell them? This post is not about advertising or promoting, it’s about the leeches that come around when you publish a book.

Yesterday, I received a call from a publishing company. Of course, at first, your heart pounds and your ears roar for a tiny second… At least mine used to. I’ve received so many calls with fantastic news… “You have caught our eye and we want to give you the moon”. Unfortunately, the moon comes at a steep price. And yes, we all want the moon, right?

I sat and listened to this guy just shower Highlander’s Heart with praises, which alright, yes, that made me feel good. But, you see, I was googling this guys publishing company as he talked. The second through fifth things that came up were about a scam and it was from other authors who had fallen into their trap. So, I went over to their website, the poor guy was still gushing about the millions that I could make if I went with their company… The very first page offered three packages for getting ‘in’ with them. I won’t even post the prices they were so ludicrous.

The poor little guy then went on to tell me that he could put my book on the silver screen immediately. I’m sorry folks, but I had to cover my mouth as the laughter bubbled forth. Anyone in this business knows that it’s not a straight line to the silver screen unless you are lucky enough to catch the eye of a big-time person in the movie business. But, I was nice, I continued to listen.

Then, he said and we’ll put you in touch with our review site to get the reviews to boost the sales of your very first published book. If I hadn’t heard the warning bells earlier in the conversation, this would have been the moment of the bell clanging. You see, I’m about to publish my 30th book, so that told me this little guy’s supposed research of me was completely false.

At this time in our conversation, or shall I say his, because I was pretty much scanning social media at this point, but I was getting a little tired of listening. I decided to end the really badly rehearsed speech he was giving me about the reach I could have with them. I told him to email the information and I’d have my publishing legal team check it out. (Like I have a publishing legal team, but it was fun to say 😉 ). At this point in the conversation, the guy started stuttering and telling me to check out their rating on the better business bureau, which I’d already done in the first five minutes of the conversation. By the way, it was horrible.

So, the moral of this post is, if you get a call from a publishing company, please do your homework. I’ve received calls from some of the bigger names in publishing, but they were wanting money to promote my work. Beware of the leeches and make sure you do your homework before you sign on the dotted line.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…