Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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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 ūüėČ

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 ūüėČ ). 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…


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Romance…

Good Monday morning! Hope you had a restful weekend… The topic of today, Romance. There are so many facets of romance that it boggles the mind, but I want to talk about something I read the other day that quite frankly made me giggle… so here goes…

I was reading a writing post and someone chimed in with a comment on romance writers. She said, ‘Why do romance writer’s write about romance as though it’s ¬†an achievable¬†goal;¬†when in fact,¬†romance is a myth?’

I know… GASP!!!!! When I read this I sat back and sighed. Romance is not a myth! For one thing, romance should be a goal in your relationship with your significant other. I have romance in my marriage. For example, at the moment, my husband is building me a farm table for my dining room. It’s the most romantic gesture because he knew I wanted one, so he’s making it happen.

Now, I do agree that as romance writer’s we do embellish, but that’s for the entertainment of our readers. If we just wrote a book about everyday life and included no extraordinary romance in it, would we keep our readers? I know that,¬†personally, when I pick up a romance, I want to be wooed by the romance that spills from the authors words. A frilly romance can put a smile on your face.

You can get lost in the romance of a book. The unreal aspects of books are what makes them so much fun to read. But folks, romance is real. It doesn’t have to be wine and roses every day. It can simply be a look across the table or holding hands for no reason.

So, give me your thoughts…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

If you get a chance, my newest release came out last night, ‘Sowing the Right Seed’, so go by and check it out.¬†https://www.amazon.com/Sowing-Right-Seed-Lean-Book-ebook/dp/B01MUDJL8O

Also, sign up to be on my street team or simply to get my monthly newsletter at www.stephaniehurtauthor.com.


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Five Oaks Ranch…

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Good Wednesday morning folk! I do hope all is well with you and yours. As for me, it’s the beginning of my busy season. Since I’m an accountant, and tax season is now up and running, well, that means I’m a busy lady. Not to mention I have a couple of book deadlines looming too…

Today I want to talk about my Five Oaks Ranch Series. Even though Ridge has been out for coming up on three years, it’s stayed in the top 100 Free books for almost a year. The rest of the series is doing well too…

A little back story into this series… When this series came to me, we were driving back from our Florida vacation. I’d been playing with ideas for a cowboy series, and I wanted it to be based around a family, but I didn’t have the exact specifics. As we drove into Georgia, I was sitting there, lost in thought when street signs started coming into my view. At once, I knew it would be based in Georgia. Then the names started flashing by, my mind whirling with ideas. At that moment, Five Oaks Ranch was born.

By the time we arrived home about one and a half hours later, I had the book names, the cover ideas and had started my character sketches. Of course, I can’t write and ride because I’d turn green, but I had my notepad beside me. I wrote on it without looking, as the words streamed in, almost at once.

When we arrived home, I had to unpack, but my mind was still on beginning Ridge. I have to say, Ridge’s popularity has surprised me. The outpouring of support for this book and the series has been humbling, to say the least. This series came straight from my heart and from the responses I’ve received by email and direct message, it’s touched others.

My writing style has changed a lot since I published Ridge. I’ve studied writing a lot, as most writers do. Some of the things I’ve learned have spilled out into my writing. The first book, Ridge and the second book, Oakley are different in the style of writing, but it¬†still has my heart in it.

To say I’m excited about where the Five Oaks Ranch will go in the future is an understatement. I’ve received emails from readers that would love to see it on the big screen as one big movie or mini-series. Now wouldn’t that be awesome.

Ok, so with your writing, which work has made you a proud author?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…