Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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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…


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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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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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Writing changes your life…

Ok, so it’s Thursday and the weekend is right around the corner… With that being said, what’s changed in your life since becoming a writer? A lot if it’s anything like mine. So, without any further rambling, here are some of the things that have changed…

  1. I now have a blog… The funny thing is, I used to just think of blogs as something other people did to pass the time. Now I blog almost daily and it’s so enlightening and helps promote my books, along with helping other writers.
  2. I’ve met so many wonderful people from all over the world. So many new friends…
  3. Now I have a major stress reliever. Writing helps to clear my head, literally. With all the stories and characters running through my head, I can let them out.
  4. I now have an extra income coming in, which is helpful.
  5. My writing has opened doors that had been closed before.

This is only a small number of ways my life has changed, but there are so many more.

What are some things that have changed for you?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…