Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Cover Reveal Tomorrow!

Come by tomorrow for an exciting cover reveal! My newest manuscript that’s set to come out April 30th, A Light Upon My Heart is a Christian Historical romance.

I’ll give you a little hint of what it looks like, but tomorrow it’s the full deal.

Cover Reveal Hidden

I know, it’s not much to see, but it’s a special cover! Come join me and you’ll get a chance at a free paperback of this book. Just tag me in your share and I’ll put your name in the drawing. The preorder will be up soon too!

 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Time? Who has Time?

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Time… it flies by without stopping… never ceasing. So how do we fit it all in? I’m often asked how I fit writing into my busy schedule with running my accounting office, being a wife and mom, being a children’s minister, life, reading, researching, among other things that fill my days. Well, some days it’s not easy.

How do I keep up with my word count and publish on time? I have a schedule of word counts, but that doesn’t mean that I make that count every day. Some days I don’t even type a word, but guess what, that just builds it up to the next day and so on… My daily word counts during tax season are low, but they add up quickly when I don’t meet my daily count.

So, how do you stretch your time? How do you fit it all in? I have some advice on that very subject. This is advice that I ignored years ago, but now I take it very seriously. Make a schedule and a list of what needs to be done daily. That seems easy, huh, but it’s not on most days. So what do I mean?

Here’s how I schedule my week. Sit down on Sunday afternoon and look at the week ahead. Look at meetings on the calendar, work that needs to be completed, deadlines, and anything else that comes into the week. Then prioritize the items that don’t have a specific set time, like meetings.

With tax returns and accounting, I look at deadlines for the week first, don’t forget to look ahead to the deadlines for the next week too. Then I sit down at my desk and make a list for each day. I number each task, start with the most important daily task, then work my way down. I know how many tax returns I can do a day, then I separate them and bind together each day’s work. That way I accomplish what I need to accomplish and meet my deadlines. But remember, if it’s not important to finish this week, don’t waste valuable time trying to fit it in. Put it on the next week’s schedule. That way you’re only accomplishing this week’s needs.

What about writing? This is where it gets tricky. If my day is filled with appointments and I have to work later than usual, well, my writing time suffers. I use the time after my hubby and son leave for work and school. I sit down with my coffee and write. If I’m behind on my count, well no blog that day and I don’t check social media until I’ve caught up on the count. That’s hard to do. A couple of days this week, I wrote when I came in for lunch. That helped too. (But now I need to clean the crumbs from my keyboard!) Also, I make my Saturday word count higher than my weekday, but only when I’m behind.

I know, you’re sitting back going, wow, she’s so organized, but don’t get the wrong idea. My life is always disorganized in one way or another. Like last night, I wanted to write at least 1000 words, but my brain just wouldn’t cooperate, so I read for an hour, which helped my brain to calm a little, but then it was time to go to bed, so I have an extra 1000 words to add to today. By the way, I need to get back to the writing.

How do you stretch your time? Don’t forget to schedule in some ‘me time’. It’s important to your sanity…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

A little note, Ridge is finally free on Amazon! http://www.amazon.com/Ridge-Five-Oaks-Ranch-Book-ebook/dp/B00TFOPOFI


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Word Counts, Outlines and Covers…

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Good Friday morning! It’s been a busy week and it will only get busier. Tax season is in full swing and my calendar is getting full, but that’s a good thing. I included a nice, warm picture for all of you caught in the polar vortex and to those of us that just want to walk down that dock and plunge into the water, washing the everyday stress away. AHHHH… As as writer I can imagine it…

I’m often asked how I keep up with my word counts during tax season. To be honest, it can be really hard, but I manage somehow. As you know, I do an outline for each book. With each line of the outline, I try to do a certain amount of words, according to the final length of the book that I have in mind. The outline keeps me focused while my mind is scattered with thoughts of tax returns, numbers and deadlines, both book and tax.

Of course and I’ve said this often, writing is how I stay sane when it’s busy. Writing takes the stress out of my mind and takes me to another place, sometimes another time. When I’m finishing my work day, thoughts of putting words into a manuscript fill me and make the stress start slipping away.

Right now I have a rather high word count daily, but it’s supposed to be less. I originally had figured into my daily writing for tax season, only 2000 words a day. If I do more then good for me, if I do less, well, that has to be carried over to the weekend writing sprint. With my brain going over so much paperwork during the day, sometimes I just have to do something creative, other than with words. That’s when I start

With my brain going over so much paperwork during the day, sometimes I just have to do something creative, other than with words. That’s when I start working on covers for upcoming releases and preorder releases. Here lately, I’ve been struggling with the cover for a historical romance that’s coming out at the end of April. But it will come to me soon, just right now, it’s giving me the hiccups 😉

How’s your week been? Have you kept up with your word count? (I’ll catch up on mine over the weekend, I hope!)

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Just a little note… Seaside Beginnings came out Wednesday and it’s been a great success. I’ve received some of the sweetest messages about it. I’m so excited and awestruck at the response for this book about an over forty woman starting over.


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Happy Endings…

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It’s Monday, already! I don’t think I was ready for Monday, were you? Over the weekend, I turned one book into my editor and started a new book, so it was a fairly productive weekend. But this morning, I’m just not feeling it…

Happy Endings… Does every book end with a Happily Ever After? Not all of them, but in the romance genre, they need to end on a happy note. Of course, if it’s a series that continues from one book to the next, then it might not be a happy ending, but the final one should be if it’s a romance. Why is that? Well, let me explain.

Did you know that most editors, well the big publishing house editors, have in their submission guidelines for romance that it has to have a happy ending, if not, they won’t even look at it? Have you ever thought about it? Romance is a special genre, well, in my opinion. When someone picks up a romance novel, they’re wanting that good feeling that a romance can give them. They want to be taken to another world, away from the one they’re in. Romance novels should move you, give you hope, maybe make you cry or laugh, but when it gets to the end, well, the guy should get the girl. That’s why it’s called romance.

Now sometimes, if you’re writing a series and the book ends on a cliffhanger, then the happy ending will come at some time, but the series should end on a happy note. It’s just a reality of writing romance.

Have you ever read a romance that ended badly? I have and it left me feeling horrible, not the usual feeling at the end of a romance. I was stunned, to say the least. I could have expected this at the end of maybe a science fiction, or other genres, but not romance. The guy didn’t get the girl and at the end, they went their separate ways. All I could do was think, ok, there has to be another book coming, but that wasn’t the case. I felt empty inside.

So, does your romance have a happy ending? Does your reader have that satisfied feeling? Think about it, don’t you spend the whole book trying to get these two together, so why would you throw that out the window at the end?

Just a little food for thought on this Monday morning…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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Introvert, yes or no?

Good Monday morning everyone! Can you believe the weekend is over? Of course, today is a holiday for many, but sadly, if you’re an Accountant or Tax Preparer, well, you’re hard at work. Of course, I’m on holiday in my mind, which brings me to the point of this post.

Are you an introvert? The Huff Post did an interesting article recently with several points to think about. As I went over each one of them, I got the confirmation, I’m legit. I have almost all of the symptoms, but that’s alright. It’s not like I’m crazy or anything, well, let’s just say I’m not ready for the straight jacket, not yet.

I don’t go out a lot, which is alright with me. Actually, my husband is the same way, which works really well. I’m perfectly content, sitting at night by the fire, writing. I slip into the world of my characters and don’t need the world outside the house. Many worry about me, saying I need to get out, that it’s not normal to be content staying home. But, that’s me. Others have to have the outside world to feel normal or find happiness. I don’t and that confuses people.

As most writers can tell you, we see more of the world in our writing than most see in their lifetime. Just last Summer, I went to Tuscany in my writing world. It wasn’t crowded and had no lines to wait in. I got to experience it through the eyes of my characters and it was wonderful. Let’s just say, I had a craving for Italian food while writing this one.

Just because I enjoy the solitude of my home, doesn’t mean I’m antisocial. I’m with people a good bit of the time. I don’t avoid business meetings, Church, family get together’s or anything like that. I just don’t need to go out, just to go out. I’ve made my home a place where I’m completely content spending my free time. It’s beautiful and feels me with happiness to just sit and enjoy life. By the way, I do enjoy life to the fullest and don’t feel like I’mo missing out on anything, no matter what anyone says. I love my life!

So, are you an introvert? If you’re a writer, then 9 times out of 10 you are. Embrace it!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-real-reason-introverts-dread-small-talk_56854922e4b06fa688823798?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

 


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Christian Romance Writers

It’s Friday, finally. Good morning! Here in Georgia, it’s rainy and windy, but it’s Friday, so that’s good.

I’m a writer of romance, many genres, but my favorite is the Christian or wholesome genre. Several authors have messaged me before, asking how I write a wholesome romance and still have romance in it. Well, that’s easy, romance isn’t just about the intimate parts of a relationship. It’s the little things that you do. Romance can be a kiss, a touch, a look, or even a candlelit dinner. Maybe it’s just sitting by the fire quietly after a hard day at work.

Faith is a big part of my Christian series, “Lean on Him”. I wanted to integrate the needs of today’s Christian and add some romance along the way. The deep relationship that my characters have with one another and with Christ make these heartwarming. But they have their own set of problems along the way. Nobody has a perfect life here on earth, no matter how much you want to. We all have tragedy happen, mourning of a lost loved one, and mental issues that bring us closer or tear us apart, but it’s our faith that brings us through to the light. It’s all in how you handle it.

So, do you or have you ever read a Christian romance? I’ve been hooked on Amish Christian romance series lately. They’re interesting and leave you feeling good, which is the goal of a writer, right? Right!

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…

By the way, if you get a chance, go by faithfulreads.com and check out my book that spotlighted with some great Christian writers today!

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Writing Courses…

Ok, I know we’re busy writing the next big one, but have you considered taking a writing course. For the last six or more months, I’ve been taking a couple here and there. It’s been really enlightening. Actually, a couple of them made me rethink a couple of my works in progress to the point I rewrote several scenes.

What kind of courses, you ask? Well, I’ve taken one on Facebook advertising which was very helpful. Maybe you’re thinking, well that is too easy to need a course on, but no my friend, there’s a whole world of ways you can do your ad. I was amazed at the things I didn’t do with some of my former ads.

Then, of course, the marketing courses I listened to. I’ve been going about my marketing in the wrong direction. Who knew? Not me! Lately, I’ve been using some of the concepts I learned, like tags on my books, rewriting my blurbs, how I send out tweets and what I send out. Incredibly I’m seeing a positive upturn.

Then comes  the writing courses. These will make you sit up and think. I’ve learned so many ways to make my individual voice stand out. It’s amazing what you can learn about not using adverbs and how best to use commas. Yep, guilty as charged. Some of the writing techniques I learned from bestselling authors has made my daily writing so much more productive.

So, have you tried a writing course lately? All of the one’s I’ve sat through online were free and by bestselling authors. As with many things today, some of them only give you an introduction, then want money for the more advanced courses. I’ve used what I learned from the introductions and put them to good use.

As always Great Writing and May God Bless You!


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A Character’s Character…

Good Tuesday morning! It’s still cold here in Georgia, but it’s January so it’ll feel like Spring by the end of the week, then back to Winter within a couple of days. That’s just the fun of living in the south.

A character in your book has many dimensions, or I should say, must have many dimensions. If your characters are only one dimensional, then what will the draw be? Let’s take, for instance, my Five Oaks Ranch characters. Each has their own personality, but inside each personality, they have many, many dimensions.

I’ll pull out the oldest brother, Ridge, for example. He’s a very complex man with many facets. One the one hand, he’s a loving brother, caring deeply for his family. Then he’s the hardened soldier that’s had two tours in Iraq, which has him edgier than he was before the war. Ridge was always the toughest of the five Cauthen’s, but now he’s withdrawn.

But, once he meets the woman of his dreams, he’s softened to a teddy bear. Although he fights it all the way, in the end, he gives up and lets his heart lead him. SO, let’s list his character traits, he’s a family man, hard-edged soldier, hopeless romantic want to be, not to mention that he loves deeply and forever.

Would he have been a great character if he’d just been a hard-edged soldier and nothing else? Maybe, but most probably not. He needed the extra facets to pull the reader in and to keep the reader guessing. Only one facet and the reader would lose control within a couple of chapters.

So, do your characters have character?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Cold Monday, warm writing…

First off this morning, I want to express my sadness at the loss of David Bowie. Since I’m over 40, his music filled my radio during my teen years. He was an amazing singer and will be missed.

Ok, on to today’s post. It’s really cold here in Georgia. My outside thermometer is registering 20. Burrrrrr!!!. Thanks to my hubby, I have a warm fire to write by and extra wood. It’s nice and cozy as I sit and write this, but just a look outside and it’s frigid.

At least, I have something warm to write. As you know I’m finishing my over 40 romance, “Seaside Beginnings” and since it’s set on a beach in Tybee Island, Georgia, my mind is convinced I’m on the beach. So, right now I’m sinking my toes into the warm sand and listening to the waves caress the beach, or so my mind thinks.

Here’s a little snippet of the book, hope you like it! Just a note about this part of the book, Maddy and Caden are remodeling the bed and breakfast. Do take into mind, this is from the first draft, so no editing yet!

Maddy looked up at the wallpaper and figured that would be a good place to start. She grabbed her punch roller and the fabric softener she’d put in a spray bottle. The paper came off fairly easy at first, then when she got to the higher sections, she had to use the ladder that Caden had brought inside when he first arrived.
She hooked the spray bottle on her belt loop and climbed the ladder. Whistling a happy tune as she worked, not realizing how far out she was leaning until hands wrapped around her waist, lifting her from the ladder.
“Do I have to watch you every minute? Don’t you realize how dangerous it is leaning out that far from the ladder?” His hands were still on her waist, but neither noticed as he continued to argue with her. “You could’ve fallen from the top and broke every bone in your body, or worse.”
“I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention.” Her gaze went to his bare chest, they were too close for her comfort. She pushed his hands off her and turned to grab her bottle of water from the step beside them. Getting her mind off him was the best thing she could do right now. The moment he lifted her off the ladder and brought her close to him, everything in her mind shifted. It had been a long time since she’d felt that way.
“Just try to be more careful.” He shook his head as he walked back out to finish replacing the boards on the porch. When he’d seen her reaching out, the ladder tilting, he lost a couple years off his life. He knew that a couple of extra gray hairs had popped out. What was he going to do with her? Then thinking better of that line of thinking, he went back to work, because that had been on his mind for a couple of days. He thought about her more than normal and deep down his heart told him something wonderful was budding out.
Maddy thought about how he’d continued to hold her, even when the danger had passed. Something inside of her jumped at the feelings that came to mind, but she quickly pushed them away. This was not the time to be thinking in that way. Too much needed to be done and complications would only hinder them. Shrugging, she moved the ladder over and continued to remove the wallpaper.
Caden came back in to check on her. She was unaware of his presence and dropped a wet piece of old wallpaper on his head. “Hey, Hey.”
Maddy looked down to see him struggling to get the large piece of paper off his head. She giggled and covered her mouth to suppress the laugh that bubbled up.
“Oops, sorry.” She tried to look sorry, but the laugh came out instead.
He put his hand in the sticky mess that covered his hair. “Well, that’s nice. Do you have any towels handy?”
She climbed down and walked into the kitchen where she’d placed several towels to use for cleaning. “Here, lean over the sink and I’ll help you wash it out.”
“That’s alright, I’ll just use the hose out front.” He grabbed the towel and left. All he needed was her running her fingers through his hair.
She giggled again as he walked out the door. The rest of the day they worked in separate areas of the house. By the time they left just before dark, a good start had been made.

I’m enjoying the banter between Maddy and Caden. It’s been a fresh, new way of writing for me. Although I miss my cowboys and horses, I’ll go back to that soon, but for now, I’m a beach bum 😉

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Don’t forget “Seaside Beginnings” is up for preorder at most  ebook retailers!

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Best Assistant…

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Good Saturday morning everyone! Hope you’re having a good start to the weekend. Today’s post is about my writing and accounting assistant, Kaleigh.

Some of you, especially if you’re part of my street team, have met her through posts. She’s the person in the background that takes care of my website, my covers, my book designs and my sanity. It helps that she’s my niece, so she has a little of me running through her veins.

Kaleigh attends the University of Georgia and is finishing up her Poultry Science degree. I’ve had her with me again for the last three weeks, but sadly yesterday was the last day at the office for us for a while. But she takes care of me from afar, somebody has to.

She is the one that keeps me grounded, reminding me of release dates, word counts and such. A lot of times she has to get stern with me when it comes to my manuscripts. When she sees something that doesn’t work, she’ll tell me, but sometimes I push back. But in the end, we compromise and make the changes needed. Another issue will be sayings I use or names that make her laugh and shake her head, telling me no I can’t do that.

Everyone needs an assistant like her, because it makes things easier. I probably don’t tell her enough, but I appreciate everything she does to keep me on the right track.

Take the time this weekend to enjoy yourself. We’re not promised tomorrow.

As always, good writing and may God Bless You…