Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Throwback Thursday – Writing…

Good Thursday morning! If you’ve read my posts, you know I need my coffee, meaning I need caffeine in the morning… With that said, I let us run out of coffee… Yes, I know! Why? Why? Why? I found a bag of coffee my mom gave us, but it’s decaffeinated, yikes! I was a walking zombie until I remembered the Keurig coffee I had. Yay! I’m back to the living and think I can function today…

So, on to the post of the day… It’s Throwback Thursday and why not do a post on my back stock books. Now, just a little reminder, a couple of these were from my early days of writing, sooooo, let’s just say, my style has changed.

The first book I officially published was Ghost Lover, which has recently been revised… This book has my heart, just sayin’ … And the Facebook page for this book has exceeded the follows on all of my pages, it’s been amazing.

Then there was Tender Flames… Ahhh, yes, one of my hearts too. This story played with my mind for a long time before I finally put it on paper (Years before it was published). This too has been revised…

 

Moonbeam & Roses made me cry. I used up several boxes of tissues with this one. It pulled at my heartstrings and from the reader response, it pulled at others too…

Finding the Right Time came to me in a dream… I had to get it on paper as soon as I woke and it was written fairly quickly. It’s in the revision process at the moment, and will be redone soon. But, the story is fun and different, but overlook the style of writing. Yep, I was gaining my voice… Enough said… This was by far the hardest cover to design..

And last but not least, one of my oldest published novels, A Love Never Lost. This book made it to the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest… That was a thrilling time, but it’s sad they stopped doing that contest.

 

So, that’s my Throwback Thursday… Hope you enjoyed it. It was a pleasant trip down my publishing memory lane.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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What’s in a cover…

Good morning! We’re halfway to the weekend… So smile!

How many times have you bought a book based on the cover? Not the blurb… Not the author… Not the title… But the cover… Me, I love to look at covers. If a cover looks interesting I’ve been known to pick a book because the cover enticed me.

So, with that in mind, how much time do you spend on your cover design? Me, some of my covers have taken weeks to make just right. When I write a book, I have in mind what I want the cover to look like, of course, in reality, it’s hard to make it exactly like my vision, but we try.

The picture says it all, means so much. When I choose the photos, they have to be exact. I want the people to have the same traits as the ones in the book. I’ve been using bigstock.com for a long time, but recently, I added romancenovelcovers.com for the pictures that have models. it’s important to buy the pictures you use and have a license so that you don’t infringe on copyright laws.

The cover below took the longest to design and made my designer want to pull her hair out, but I had an idea and this totally went my way. This one took three pictures to make it happen, but it says it all.

Finding the Right Time front cover

Some of my covers have one picture and are simple, like this one.

Faith Through The Tears cover

So, whether you use many pictures or one, make a statement that tells the reader, pick me up, I’m good. The cover is the first thing a reader sees and if you don’t catch their eye, you may not catch the reader.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Covers…Edits…Excitement

It’s Friday! Plain and simple, I’m ready for the weekend. It’s been a busy week in the accounting office, along with the fact that I’ve had a summer cold which has made put me in slow motion, so my writing has suffered, but hopefully this weekend I’ll make it up.

As for my book Tuscany, which is in the hands of Solstice Publishing, is moving forward. I turned in the last of the heavy edits this week. I’ve learned a lot during these edits. My editor from Solstice has been wonderful. She actually made it a learning process. Her comments were inspiring and some were even comical, which made it a fun time, which is unusual for editing.

Yes, I’ve seen the cover that has been designed for Tuscany, but I can’t share it yet. As soon as I’m given the go ahead, I’ll be sharing it. Let’s just say, I’m excited. The book is beyond the first editing process and now will go on to the run through to make sure that everything was addressed before it goes to publication. So, hope to have some publishing news soon!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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Best Assistant…

kaleigh

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…

 


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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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Five Oaks Ranch Series

bookmark designMake sure to go follow the Five Oaks Ranch Series Facebook page at facebook.com/FiveOaksRanchBooks

and on twitter @5oaksranchbooks for opportunities to win copies and keep up with publishing dates, book

signings, and so much more!


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Self Publishing – A good thing…

I’m back in the grid again. I’ve been working on our Church’s Fall Festival, which was yesterday, so that’s why I’ve been out of the grid for the last couple of days. It went really well, other that the attack of the cotton candy machine. The wind decide to get a little brisk about the time we started the machine up. We all worked hard to get it caught up and bagged, but unfortunately I was covered in cotton candy. Pictures of this mishap are posted on my Facebook page by many friends that thought it was really hilarious…

Ok, on to today’s thoughts. As most of you know I self publish all of my books. It’s a decision I made for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love for one of my books to be picked up by one of the big guys, but if not, that’s alright too. I’ve had a couple of  publishers call me to inquire about what I have coming up, but once we talked about the percentage of royalties and what they’d do for me if I put my book with them, well I politely turned them down.

I’m a person that researches things a lot, well sometimes too much. I’ve looked into the good points and bad points of going both ways and when I look at the numbers, self publishing wins every time. I have control of what, where, when and all the things that happen with my work. I also make more in royalties than if I went with a publisher.

The tools available now for authors allow you to make awesome covers and publish really great looking books. There are so many outlets for self publishers to post their books for sale and advertising. It’s amazing the rise in just the last two years of the acceptance.

You might be saying, but wouldn’t you sell more with the big publishers. Maybe…but when I talked with one of them, they told me that I’d have to do a lot of advertising and social media myself, which I already do anyway. They didn’t offer very much in the way of marketing, well no more than I do now, so why do anything different.

This is a choice I made for myself. Now a big publisher might be the best fit for you, so understand that I’ve just not had a really good deal thrown at me. The couple I did get just didn’t push the right buttons. Self publishing is more widely accepted now than it was years ago. I’ve actually seen big, NY Times Bestsellers come from self published authors. Many big authors are going back to self publishing. That tells me something.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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What are you waiting for?

Lately I’ve received several messages from writers that talked about not publishing their work. My question is always, ‘Why not?’ It’s so easy nowadays. Of course I was skeptical when I hit the publish button the first time, but over 10 books later I haven’t looked back. 

It’s such a rewarding feeling when you sell the first book. But the feeling of accomplishment far out weighs any of the nerves I had. It’s funny how the nerves always hit before I publish my books, even several books in. I always get anxious and wonder if anyone will like my work, then I hear from some of my dedicated fans and I smile.

If you put your heart into your writing, why not put it out there? Don’t let those manuscripts just collect dust. I did that for so many years. Take the leap and put it out there. Whether you self publish or go with a traditional publisher, do it. It’s worth the try and you won’t regret it. Don’t let the years go by and the books fade away.

If you need any help with covers, editing, social media setup for your books or anything with the publishing, check out the tab at the top of my blog. I own Horseshoe Publishing along with my editor. We help take the pain out of publishing. Just sit back and write.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Cover Reveal – The WInner Takes All

Image

Every book needs a great cover and when you have an awesome cover designer it makes things go smoothly. I just love this new cover. This book has been a long time in the making. I had to step away from it for a little bit. Sometimes we writers have to do that. But now I’m into the editing and so glad to be almost finished. I love this series.

This cover took alot of thought. What’s funny is it started out totally different and by the time we were finished it was this gorgeous concoction. The original cover was very vibrant, but my designer decided on using these subtles hues of beige, gray and white, which to me looks totally awesome. 

Here’s an excerpt to give you a little tease:

The next morning it was rainy and dreary outside. She woke up in a bad mood, which was unusual for her. When she arrived at the office, Abigail had her a cup of coffee on her desk as soon as she saw her face.

“Stacy, what’s wrong? You look like you didn’t sleep well.” She looked a little concerned. She’d never seen her like this.

“I went to bed with a bad headache and it seems to have woken up with me.” As she reached for the coffee her engagement ring twinkled back at her. She smiled through the pain.

“Let me see that gorgeous ring. I heard about the engagement. Congratulations.” She looked at the ring and smiled. “That’s quite a stunning ring. You’re a lucky woman.”

“Thanks Abigail. I am a lucky woman with a lot of hard decisions.” She sat down and sighed.

“Alright, what’s up?” Abigail sat down in the chair on the other side of the desk.

“Guess when he wants to get married?” She propped her head in her hands.

“In June?” She said quietly.

“Oh, June I could work with. He wants to get married on Valentine’s Day.” She looked at Abigail and made a face.

“This Valentine’s Day?” Abigail’s eyes became huge with surprise.

“The very one.”

“No wonder you have a headache. I guess he’s not a patient man.” She grinned and gave her a wink.

“Well, that’s not very long to plan a wedding and it’s about to get really busy around here.” She sat back and sighed heavily. “What are you going to do?”

“I guess I’m going to attempt to put a wedding together in six weeks.” She looked up again. “That’s not the only decision that has to be made.”

“Let me guess, where are you two going to live?”

“Abigail, why does life have to be like this? Here I am with a dream come true groom to be and now I have to decide so much in a short time.”

“Honey, that’s life. I’m sorry you have to go through that part, but I’m happy you found a good man.” She gave her hand a pat. “You have a client coming in at ten.”

As I said, it’s in the editing department of Horseshoe Publishing, so it should be ready really soon. I’m excited to have it completed and ready to go. It’s crazy how relieved I always feel to have the cover completed. The editing is a process that excites me, but the cover is always so pivotal for the book that sometimes this part of the process is so stressful.

Horseshoe Publishing is so happy to have such a great designer. If your book needs a cover and you’re struggling, give us a shout and we’ll help you out. We’re reasonable and ready to help you today…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…