Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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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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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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Picking the tree…

My son took me to the local Christmas tree farm Thursday. It was cold, but we had a long walk to the tall trees. We actually had an amazing time, laughing as we went from tree to tree, trying to find the perfect Hurt family tree.

As we walked among the trees, looking at aspects of the trees, it reminded me of editing a book. When we look at our manuscript, it’s with anxious eyes. We search for the holes in the story, like the holes in the tree that ornaments and lights can’t hide.

Then, of course, we look for the best branches to hold our ornaments. Same way with editing our story. We have to make sure that it’s a strong story and doesn’t fall off the edge of interesting. That’s a hard one, because we’re close to the story and love it. My editor assistant always finds these easily.

Oh, and don’t forget the straight stump! If you get home with a curved stump, well, it’s a disaster. If your manuscript doesn’t get the story straight, if it curves away from the story line, you’ll lose the reader.

So, today I’ll finish decorating my tree and yes, I’ll post many pictures. This is my favorite time of year, so my house looks like it threw up Christmas (my son’s words, not mine). I love my Santas, Snowmen, Angels, and Christmas village. So, I deck the halls!

As always, Great writing and May God Bless You…

Happy Saturday!

 


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Learning from others…

Good Monday morning! It’s drizzling rain here in Georgia, but that’s alright, we need it. Also since it’s Monday it kind of meets with my mood.

Today I want to talk about how you train as a writer. Some people say, ‘it’s easy to write, anyone can do it’, but that’s not the case. Writing takes more than you think to get from start to finish. You can sit down and write an idea for what you want, but it takes more than just an idea to get the full story. I’ve had ideas before and thought they’d be good, but they didn’t have enough filler to actually make a book.

I like to study what my favorite authors do. You may be asking what I mean, well it’s quite simple. I read lots of books in the genre I write. As I read, I’m looking at the sentence structure, paragraph lengths, the setup of the characterizations and the way the book is brought to the end. It’s amazing what you can learn from doing something you love, reading.

Then of course I read posts from other authors, writing magazines and even study courses. So, do you still think it’s all that easy? I’ve learned more English in the last three years that I’ve been publishing, not just writing. English skills are very important when you’re writing. Hey, I was thinking backwards for a while, but once you get into the business you realize, it’s more than just words on paper.

Several authors I follow have businesses that help other authors. All authors should want to help each other. It’s amazing the things you can learn from other authors about their own mistakes and how to correct them. I also join many Facebook writing groups, which just by reading them daily I can learn so much. Try it, you won’t regret it.

So, do you learn from other authors? If you’re struggling with something in your writing, there’s always someone out there or an article that can help you out.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you….


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Editing, it’s very important!

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Good Tuesday morning! It’s nice to be back in a regular schedule. Vacations are really nice and relaxing, but then I start losing track of my days and that makes my brain turn to jelly. Not good when I’m on two book deadlines, and have accounting to catch up on.

While on vacation I downloaded three books to my Kindle to read while at the beach. I was so excited about one of the books, but as I started the first page things didn’t sound right. I struggled through a couple more pages and put it down, thinking I was sleepy. I picked it up the next day and more of the same. The story line was really great, but the writing or rather the editing was bad.

I’ve heard authors say they found books that were hard to read because of the poor reading, but usually I can muddle through. This one wasn’t like that and the sad thing is the book is by an author that I really like and have read before. It has me thinking really hard about my editing process. I’m constantly reading articles about editing and writing which helps keep me educated on the craft. This book would have been covered in red marks and comments. But I really wanted to find out what happened to the two characters. Eventually I’ll pick it back up and try again.

Some may ask if I plan on putting a bad review on this book. The answer is no! I don’t believe in downgrading an author, especially one that’s written some great books. It’s very possible that this book was downloaded from the wrong file. I did that with a reviewer one time. Now that was embarrassing. I might send her a email and inquire if she’s checked the finished and published product. I just don’t like to be negative to my fellow authors. We’re all in this craft together and should support one another, not tear one another down.

So, do you make sure that your editing process is what it needs to be? Also, make sure if you’re paying an editor, double check their work too. Everyone can miss something, even the experts.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Just like editing a book, only a lot messier!

Saturday we started pulling up the carpet in our home and replacing it with hardwood. Let’s just say it’s been interesting. You don’t know how dirty carpet it until you pull it up. I was astounded to say the least. Twenty one years of living life were ground into the floor and no matter how much you’ve vacuumed and cleaned, it’s never clean enough.

Here’s some pictures of the finished den, still have kitchen, dining room and three bedrooms, yikes!

fireplace floor 2 floor

As I was ripping up the carpet and cleaning up, I realized that it’s similar to editing a book. How you might ask? Well, think about it this way, you make a draft. That’s the starting point, the place you’ve poured your heart into with sloppy abandon. You know the first draft is always riddled with holes, bad grammar, spelling issues and much more, like the dirt I found.

Then of course you dig in and start the editing process, much like the moment the broom and shop vac start clearing out the ground in dirt. Once you’ve got that first draft cleaned up, it’s time to lay in the shiny, squeaky clean new floor, uh I mean manuscript.

Now the work is done and it’s ready for publication or is it. Have you done everything you need to do? Even with the newly laid floors, we had to run a dust mop over the top and put down a little finishing molding. The same is needed for your new manuscript. It’s important to make sure you’ve read, reread and read out loud. This is your showplace and it’s got to be as close to perfect as you can get it.

So, what have you been up to lately?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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The bunny did it, I need a new plan!

An update on my lettuce regrowing project and it’s not good. I planted the rooted lettuce sections in the garden over the weekend and have nurtured my little plants. Well, I went out last night after Church to check on my plants which had grown over five inches and for a long while I just stared at the spot where my lettuce was supposed to be. Yep, you guessed it, something chewed my lettuce to the nubs.

That’s when I realized who’d eat my salad. We have a back yard bunny. I’ve watched him every morning as I sipped my coffee but he always stayed in the back of the yard. I guess it never crossed my mind that he’d come into the garden. Thank goodness I eat a lot of lettuce and have three plants rooting now. When I plant them I’ll definitely put a screen over the plants.

As for my surprise project, it’s going great. Worked on the synopsis yesterday and have the first chapter completed and even edited. It took a couple of hours, but my editor and I have it ready. I’ve had a lot of fun with the research for this project and it’s a new adventure. Can’t wait to give you some hints, but for now I’ll hold back.

Hope you have a great Thursday. I need to get back to writing.

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…