Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Writing from your heart…

Good morning! It’s been a while since my last post, but I’ve been super busy getting my latest manuscript finished and sent to my editor. I want to share with you what I’ve learned over the last couple of months while working on my newest project.

1: Write what’s in your heart. Don’t let others tell you what you can and can’t write, all that does is tamp down your inner voice. So, fill your pages with what your heart gives you and trust it.

2. Give your writing all that you have. When you get done writing each day, you should feel drained because you’ve put everything into it, but also feel accomplished because you’ve given your muse free reign.

3. Never write something that doesn’t feel right. If it doesn’t feel right, then it shouldn’t be put on paper. Go with your instinct.

SO, do you write from your heart? That’s what I did with the manuscript I just finished. I’m satisfied with the results, which is surprising because I always have that little doubt with each piece of work. But not this time.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

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Coffee, Books, and Romance…

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Good morning! We’re halfway to the weekend and that’s awesome. This has been a busy week so far, so I’m looking forward to diving into the weekend with some much-needed writing so I can get lost for just a little while.

As I sip my coffee, my mind is on all the things I’d like to accomplish today. Is there writing on that list? Well, I try to get in as much writing as I can each day, but some days, a few promotional posts and such are all I can fit in during tax season.  But I’m hoping to catch a few minutes of mind cleansing writing.

A fan asked me a question a few days ago and I’ve been wondering how to answer it. Her question was, ‘How do you stay focused on just writing Romance?’. Well, let’s see… For one thing, I love romance and everything about it. There’s so much you can do with romance writing. It’s my favorite genre to read also, which makes it an easier niche for me. But, think about it, in romance novels you can add elements of mystery, the paranormal, humor, history, real life, etc. The list goes on as to where you can go with romance. Actually, it’s endless.

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A romance novel can be in any era because there’s always been romance somewhere. So, to me, it makes the best writing genre in my mind. But, I love romance. If you love mystery or horror, well, that could be the best writing genre for you. My philosophy is this, write what you love, it helps keep the words flowing.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

P.S.: Here’s another look at the amazing cover of my upcoming release, ‘Beyond One Moment’. Yes, I’m a little in love with it.

Beyond One Moment Front cover


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Christmas Memories…

Christmas memories are covering my tree. I have several ornaments that hold special meaning and decorations that have been passed down for generations. It’s those special tokens of a time past that make me smile as I lovingly hang them on the tree or place in a safe place on the mantel.

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Take for instance this little bear. This was hung on the tree for our son’s first Christmas. Every year when I hang it, I can see his little eyes filling with wonder at all the lights and trying his best to reach the ornaments from his walker. Those were such special moments that I cherish.

 

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Of course, then I have the many ornaments that our son made over the years. Each one is a treasure. I have a special box that holds those ornaments. Every year they grace our tree and bring on memories.

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Now, this little reindeer is older than me, which we won’t discuss how old that it. This ornament was my grandmothers and every year she let me and my brother hang ornaments on her little tree. It was only about three foot tall and set on a round table by the window. This little reindeer was the ornament I always hung. Although it’s looking worn and if it wasn’t made of plastic, it would’ve fallen apart a long time ago, it still graces my tree.

These memories are what fill my many Christmas romances that I’ve published over the last couple of years. I always put a little of my experiences in each one. Like with A Christmas to Remember, I put some of our families favorite recipes in the back.

And one of my bucket list items is to go to Switzerland around Christmas, which is what happens with Lacey in Open the Heart…

And then there’s this years Christmas release, which offers a look into my world of reading and loving bookstores. Hideaway Lane has a quaint little bookstore that is all decked out for Christmas…

I’ve written several Christmas romances but this is just three of the memorable ones. So, what are your Christmas memories?

As always, good writing and May God Bless you…


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Three cups & a book…

Good Thursday morning! I do hope you’re all well…

This morning I’m working on the outline for the 2nd book in the Wishful Harbor Series. It’s exciting when you start a new manuscript, but it’s scary too! As a writer, you want to pull the reader in with the first paragraph, but what if you don’t? Publishing your work is scary, but satisfying when you see the sales and responses from readers.

As I outline, I have a bad habit of writing instead of outlining. Yep, some of my outlining will be used in the actual book because I get carried away, but that’s fine. One thing that helps is I use Scrivener, so I can set up my chapters and copy/paste the part I love that will go in the book. Yep, another win for Scrivener.

But, along with writing, I have to grab another cup of coffee to keep me going. So, I’d best get back to finishing this outline and getting another cup of coffee.

So, great writing and May God Bless You…


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When do you take the next step?

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Happy Labor Day everyone… I do hope all of you are having a great day!

Ok, so I’ve been pondering something for a while, but I’m still undecided. It’s the same feeling I had just before I pushed the button to submit my first book, Ghost Lover. The feeling is gnawing at my gut and won’t let me sleep, but as I’m a thinker, I’ve been thinking a lot.

So far, I’ve self-published 35 books, made it to the top 55 of Harlequin’s SYTYCW contest, received awards, but there’s still something missing. There’s further to go, but how far? How far do you go beyond where you thought you were going? As I said, it’s gnawing at me and I feel like I’m teetering on the edge of something, but what?

As I’ve researched, read, and followed the publishing world, I realized what I’ve been missing, an agent. So, I reached out to a couple of big time authors that have commented on my work and their consensus seems to be, I need to reach out to a literary agent. But, as this is a big step for me, and if you know me, that’s saying something. Do I do this? Do I give up some of the freedom I’ve had as a self-published author?

You may be wondering, will she or won’t she? I’m going to push forward and do it. This is the week that I put myself out there and see what happens. If nothing happens, I’ve lost nothing, but if something does happen, well, I’ll let you know.

SO, as always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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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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Our job as an author…

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Good morning! It’s Monday morning and I’m ready for a productive week. Of course, my hubby is on vacation this week, so I’ll get to see him a lot, which is a great thing.

So, as an author, what are we trying to accomplish? I’m not talking about earning money, I’m talking about with our words.

Here are my top five things I try to accomplish with the words that come from my heart…

1: First and foremost, I want to entertain my reader. I want my ready to enjoy what I write and to want more of it. I want them to smile, laugh and cry when they read my work.

2: I want my readers to be taken away to another world. With Tuscany, I wanted to make them feel like they were in Italy. I wanted them to feel the warm Mediterranean breeze on their face. With my Christmas books, I want this to smell the Christmas spices, to feel the joy of the season and to feel the cold of the snow all around them.

3: My readers should feel what my characters feel. I want them to feel the happiness, the sorrow, and the anger.

4: With the romance, I want my readers to get lost in it. I want them to experience the romance of the story. So many people tell me that they haven’t ever had true romance, so I want them to feel it with every book they read of mine.

5: And finally, this is what every writer should aspire to do and that’s to take your reader to another realm of reality. Whether you write romance, mystery or horror, you should strive to take away the everyday troubles of your reader. Help them get lost in another world, if only for an hour. But help them forget everything but the characters and stories that are within the covers of your work.

So, what do you want to accomplish with your writing?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…