Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Monday’s coffee & writing…

Oh my, it’s Monday already! How did the weekend go by so fast?

So, this morning I’m hoping to be back on schedule with my daily writing. Of course, that was supposed to be last Monday, but life happened and that didn’t happen. I have itchy fingers and characters stomping their feet in my head, so… Writers got to write!

Two thousand words, here I come…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…words


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While I wasn’t writing…

Old Notebook Paper

What a wonderful day to write! It’s rainy and a little chilly. Yes, I’m back to writing and so glad.

But what happens to me when I don’t write… What happens when tax season takes all my time and leaves none for writing… Well here goes!

1: The characters in my head go nuts. Really… They go nuts. They run around screaming and yelling, constantly! Some days I wonder if I’ll lose my mind before I can write again.

2: The untold stories are filling the space around the crazy characters. Every moment of my day is filled with thoughts of where my characters can take their lives. I name characters while I depreciate assets. Yes, one character might turn up named Asset, just saying.

3: I wonder around feeling unwhole. Does that make sense? To writers, it should. As a writer, we fill the voids with our writing and when we can’t write, it just makes a hole.

4: I’m terminally stressed when I don’t write. Writing is my stress reliever… so what happens when I can’t write, well, my stress level goes up, up, up…

5: The most important thing that happens when I can’t write is I get behind and have to catch up.

Ok, so, you get the picture. Writing is my stress reliever and it helps keep me sane in this insane world. Maybe you don’t have this problem, but I do. As an Accountant, wife, mother, children’s minister, and writer, I need to keep the characters at bay or my mind will explode.

Yesterday was my first time to write over 500 words in over four weeks. It was as though my head cleared of the fog and I relaxed. My characters were walking around in my head, whistling and happy. It was a great day. Now, as I sit here, preparing to get in my daily word count, which sounds great… I’m smiling.

Just a little tidbit, I have a new series coming this summer and I’m uber excited. In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be revealing a few little things about it. But, you’ll have to be patient. Let’s just say it is big, real big, at least for me…

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…

P.S. Please help me get out of Twitter jail by going over to https://twitter.com/StephanieHurt4 and give me a follow. It’s hilarious that I finally get up to following 5000 and have over 4300 followers, but Twitter locks me down from following anyone until my followers go up. LOL! Yes, I just asked you to follow me on Twitter, I told you my mind has been compromised from lack of writing.

 

 


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Lost in the words…

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Good morning! The week is half over. I realized that I haven’t put a post on here in several days. But my head had been in my current manuscript.

So, with that thought, have you ever got lost in the words? I’ve been busy catching up on my word count. For about a week I didn’t write much and my word count suffered. If you’ve read many of my blogs you know that’s important to me. I have a set word count on the calendar and if I miss a couple of days, well, I go into a frenzy to get caught back up. But when you miss more than a couple of days, it’s almost impossible to get back on track. Notice I said almost impossible.

The characters have been running around in my head, forcing their way out. So, Sunday afternoon I sat down and let the characters take over. Let’s just say, I almost caught back up to where I should be. Hopefully this morning I will get back to task and be on track.

As a serious writer, you have to stay focused. Unfortunately, life slips in and things come up that interrupt that focus. When that happens, I sit back, look at my deadline, then divide it out by the days left. That gives me a new goal that has to be met. Which usually means a higher word count per day until I’m finished.

And as you know, I always have a couple of manuscripts in the works at all times, so get back to where I should be, I’ve put all of them aside to get back on track. The funny thing about doing that, the characters of the other manuscripts scream loudly in my head. Does that make me certifiably insane? No, that just makes me a writer!

Hope everyone is well and staying on track.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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My Characters are fighting me!

Ok fellow writers, you know what I mean when I say, ‘My characters are fighting me!’ It’s the craziest thing. You’ve got the outline, it seems to flow pretty well. The middle and ending are completely figured out in my head, but my characters are not flowing well in the front.

What do I mean? Well, let me explain myself. I’ve worked on the first couple of chapters, but they don’t seem to work. My characters are very familiar to me because this is the 2nd book in a series, so it’s not that. It’s having all the characters together at one time. Which is crazy, right? Every time I start working on it, everything seems off.

So, what do I do? One thing I’ve done is put it out of my mind completely, well not completely but out of sight. I’m taking a little break from it, then will go back fresh and start in the middle where the story is the strongest for me. Let’s just hope the front part comes to me as I write the middle and ending. Thank goodness for Scrivener!

Do your characters give you problems? How do you handle them?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

But one good thing about this one, the cover is beautiful and completed! Here’s a sneak peak!

Lacey's Choice front cover

 


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Start to Publish…

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Good Tuesday morning! I hope all is well with you. As for here in Georgia, it may be Spring, but someone forgot to tell the weather. It’s chilly again…

As for my writing, things are going well. I have several manuscripts in various stages of production. You might ask, what stages are you talking about? Well, here’s a simple guideline that I follow as I bring a manuscript full circle into publication.

1: Of course, first things first, the idea. Sometimes the idea for a book can happen months before I even start the first page of the manuscript, but when the idea comes, I put it down on paper, if not I’ll lose the excitement of that moment. I have a small notebook that holds my story ideas, some have come to be and others have incorporated themselves into other stories.

2. As you know from previous posts, I do an outline. It’s basic, but it leads me through the story, the bones, so to speak. I’ve told you before, most stories come to me in whole, or large lumps of information. The quicker I get that outlined, the quicker the story can come alive.

3. Now it’s time to schedule it into my calendar. Right now, I’m scheduled through the end of the year with stories flowing over into 2017. This way I know in the back of my head what I need to finish on this manuscript in the future, like blurbs, covers and such.

4. Once it’s time to start the manuscript, I sit down with my outline and notes from thoughts I’ve had along the line. Even as I work on other books, things pop up in my mind that would work with other works. That’s when I pull out the outline from my portfolio and jot down the thought for future reference. That way I don’t lose the moment.

5. It’s time to write. This is when I get in the structure and bones of the story, fleshing out the outline points and filling in the characters as I go. This is also when Scrivener is my best friend. All of the characters are lined up down the left of my screen, reminding me of names and people involved. This part of the writing is fast and unedited, very unedited. It’s the write by the seat of my pants, knowing I’ll go back later to correct.

6. Ok, so I have my rough, rough, rough draft ready, now it’s time to go back and fix the many errors, misspelled words, horrible grammar and left off punctuation that leads my editor to want to plot my murder. Now it’s ready to go to her for the red pen, this is the scary part!

7. As I wait for the edited manuscript to come back, I’ll work on covers, blurbs, advertising and setting up the pre-order for the book that’s being worked over.

8. Now the manuscript is back, needing some work and ready to be corrected. I input the changes, make additions and get it formatted. I add the front and back matter, then scan back through to make sure I’ve checked everything. Oh, and just for giggles, I go back through, doing a spellcheck. I’m human, I forget stuff.

9. Wow, it’s now ready for publication! This is the moment an author sweats profusely, hoping you haven’t left off anything major, forgotten to correct something and hope upon hope that your readers love the book you’ve poured your heart into.

This is why most people that say, ‘I could write a book and publish it, it’s too easy’, they don’t ever publish a book. A book doesn’t just appear when you have the thought, it’s a process, one that needs to be taken seriously. So many authors don’t take it seriously and when they hit send, it’s missing something or hasn’t been thought through. Take it seriously, it’s your reputation as a writer.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

P. S. Don’t forget Lily comes out the 27th. Get your preorder now…

Lily Release ad!


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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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Working ahead of yourself!

Good Friday morning! Yes people, it’s Friday. For me, I’m on my second cup of pumpkin spice infused coffee and thinking about the third. Hope all  of you have great plans this weekend that don’t include going to the West Coast of Mexico. Hurricane Patricia is scary looking. To my Mexican friends and all of those in the path, stay safe.

Now on to today’s post. As you know I’m working on the last three books of the Five Oaks Ranch series. Luke is over halfway completed and Maggie is outlined. My mind has been drifting this week to Maggie’s story. Since it’s outlined, I’ve been playing with some of the pivotal scenes within her story. A couple are really exciting and I had to get them out of my system so that I can finish Luke, hopefully this weekend.

Of course I’ve been looking for photos for the Cauthen Christmas book which will end the series, sadly. I feel like I know the Cauthen’s personally. But that’s what happens when you spend a good chunk of time creating every aspect of their lives. That’s why Maggie’s story is pulling at me.

The Christmas book will be so sweet that I almost started writing it the other night, but I have to make sure that Maggie doesn’t become rogue and go in a different direction. You know how sneaky those characters can be 😉

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…