Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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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…


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Clicking On and Off…

Writing doesn’t work like a light switch. You can’t just switch it on and off at your whim, can you? I sometimes struggle with writer’s block. It feels as though the writer in me has been turned off, but it wasn’t my choice. Some days this scares me because I love to write, what if it doesn’t flip back on?  So, what controls your switch? Good question huh!

I’ve worked on this question for a while and here’s what I came up with. It’s not an exact science, but it makes sense, for me that is.

Life controls my switch a good bit of the time. I’ve realized that when something is going on in my life, usually something stressful, life turns the switch off. No matter how hard I try, what comes out of my mind through my fingers isn’t satisfying. So, control the stress, keep the switch on. Easier said than done.

Guess what else controls your switch, other story characters. I noticed that when I decide to work on just one story, another story’s character steps in and holds the switch. It’s as though they’re saying, ‘work on my story or the switch goes off, your choice’. The only way to deal with this is to at least give the other story a few lines, then the switch is untouched.

Does this sound crazy? Think about it. How many times has your switch went off and you struggled to get it back on? Did you have something going on or was there another story pushing at you? Now you’re seeing what I’m talking about.

Try to push stress out when it starts in and give the other characters looming in your brain a little love, it might help.

What flips your switch?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

P.S. If you get a chance, come by and join my Street Team. I some special prizes inside the Street Team portal that you might enjoy. Go to www.stephaniehurtauthor.com and follow the instructions, it’s easy and fun…


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Word Count & Scrivener

Good Saturday morning! Here in Georgia it’s simply gorgeous with the sun shining and the temps comfortable. Makes me want to go outside and sit the rest of the day writing. But my house needs an overhaul 😉 That doesn’t mean that I won’t end up out there with my laptop.

I’m working on two manuscripts at the moment. Of course ‘Chase’ is one of them and then I’m also working on a new Christian Historical Romance, but that one will be discussed at a later date. As for writing, I’ve been trying to get in my daily word count and then some. Since the stories are flowing pretty steadily lately, it helps me to stay focused.

One thing that is helping with my writing lately is a program that I’m trying out. Have you tried out Scrivener yet? Several authors have suggested the program to me, but until now I’ve been using word mostly. So about a month or so ago I decided to test the waters and I’ve not looked back yet.

This program incorporates my trusty outlines and character lists into the same screen as my manuscript. I can keep it all at my fingertips at all time. Better yet as a new character is created I can simply add them to the list and never skip a beat. I’ve even got the outlines typed out for a couple of story ideas for later in the year.

What’s fun is with my 5 Oaks Ranch series I can copy my character list over to the next book. That way I don’t have to keep going back to the books before and search out a character. Let’s just say I love this program and highly suggest trying it out. They offer a trial version so that you can make sure it fits in with your way of writing.

Well, I better get back to mopping my kitchen and doing laundry because it won’t do itself. Also the sooner it’s done, the sooner me and my laptop can head out to sit on the deck and get lost in another world, if just for a while.

So, what are you up to today? Hope it’s fun…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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So much water under the bridge, Ghost Love is 3!

Ghost Lover Advertising

Good morning everyone! I do hope you’re having a wonderful morning, for some of you a wonderful afternoon, maybe even early evening. Well today’s a special day for this writer, it’s the 3 year anniversary of Ghost Lover being published. I’m a proud mama for sure.

Ghost Lover came about a long time ago in my head and was originally named ‘Can This be Real’. But once I was ready to edit the final draft Ghost Lover came into my mind and the name was cemented in my writing history. It’s been a crazy ride since I hit the publish button on this one. There’s been 3 covers, yes 3.

book cover Ghost Love front cover GhostLover2

Yep, that first one, well let’s just say it didn’t last long. I fell immediately in love with the second one, then of course I fell over my own feet with the third one. As the book evolved, so did the cover. The third cover goes with the revised, 2nd edition which I published several months ago. I’ve grown as a writer over the last three years and realized that Ghost Lover needed a more detailed edit.

Here’s a few fun facts about Ghost Lover.

1: It was written over ten years ago under the name ‘Can This Be Real’.

2: This was the first book to make me cry and laugh in the same paragraph. Yep, this book touched me.

3: I received my first call from a big publishing house with this one. Actually I had two call me wanting me to republish this one under their name. As you can see, I didn’t. I stuck to my guns and held strong.

4: This book went International and did really well which totally blew my mind as a new writer.

5: I still have a book cowboy crush on Jared. He’s some kind of gentleman and still makes my head spin.

If you haven’t read Ghost Lover then now’s the best time. For a limited time it’s on sale at Amazon and Barnes & Noble for .99. Yes, I said .99! I want everyone to fall in love with Jared and Jess, the couple that started my writing career. I’m forever grateful.

So, have you fell in love with a cowboy lately? If not, then check out Jared. He’ll steal your heart and lock it away forever…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Anniversary sale


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What happens when…

Good Tuesday morning! Well the main tax season is almost over and I’ll be back to my regular blogging schedule. But this week will be majorly busy for me. I’ve been fitting in a little writing here and there, but not enough for my sanity. So here’s today’s thought for the day, What happens when…

What happens when you want to write but you don’t have your computer handy, well you pick up a pen and paper. I started a new manuscript the other night and was too tired to get up and grab my laptop, so I picked up my handy spiral bound notebook and started writing. It felt amazing to put pen to paper again. Of course I know those pages upon pages of handwritten words will have to be put in the laptop, but for now I’m content do it the old fashioned way.

What happens when you have a deadline for one book but have to start another one so the characters will let you sleep. Yep I started a new historical romance two days ago and yes I know Oakley is due out really  soon! Sometimes you have to just give in to the loudest voices in your head.

What happens when figure out toward the end of the book that you accidentally renamed a character midway of the book. Yep, guilty as charged. Well, you can either stay with the new name and go back to make changes or you can search all the wrong name entries and correct. But I’m sure glad I’m now using Scrivener so that I have a character list, especially for those that don’t appear many times.

So what do you do when this happens to you?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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March Madness Sale!

Every week day in March my sight will be having a different sale!

stephaniehurtauthor.com

Don’t miss out on these deals!

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