Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Murder in a romance novel…

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Ok, so who am I murdering? That’s a secret… No, I’m not murdering anyone for real, just in my manuscript. But you may be say, ‘you write romance’. Yes, I do, but I’ve expanded into the suspense, mystery romance side of things. So, murder is on the menu.

But, how do you solve a murder mystery while still having elements of romance? Well, that’s not as easy as it sounds. The trick is to know how to multi-task. You’ve got to keep your investigation going in the foreground while having some romance going on in the background. In a lot of suspense, mystery romances, the romance side is filled in between the mystery conversation. The characters can have romantic dinners, share some eye contact that lingers, and stolen kisses while investigating.

So, yes, you can have romance and solve a murder mystery all at the same time. Just make sure that you don’t do romance overkill. In a suspense, mystery type romance, most readers want more of the mystery suspense than the romance. Or at least that’s what most readers have told me.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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When you Water down your Writing…

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Good morning! I’ve been reading a suspense romance that I saw in my Amazon feed. It looked really interesting, so I took a chance on this new author. And I have to say that I’ve really enjoyed it. Then when I finished it suggested a book that was supposed to be similar. No… It… Was… Not…

The first book was a edge of your chair, nail biter that had me hooked from word one. It was engaging, bold, and kept me guessing up until the end. But this second one, although it was good, it was not similar because it was as if the author didn’t want to go over the line or say something that would send someone running away. It was watered down and didn’t have the suspense to keep my interest. I did read it to the end, but it left me empty.

So, what about your writing? Is it watered down? Did you add that extra element to keep the interest or did you leave it off to keep up appearances? Now, I’m not saying to go over the line with some things, but in a suspense novel, there needs to be suspense. Hence the word suspense. Leave the reader hanging on your every word. It’s important. So just do it.

End your chapters with a cliffhanger to keep your reader interested. Have a couple of characters get suspected of something they didn’t do. Make your reader go down the wrong trail, only to be snatched back with a zinger. It’s the way a suspenseful novel should be. Be bold and daring.

And that’s why I’m enjoying writing suspense filled romance now. This book has been such an eye opener. The whole series will be all about the edge of the chair, never knowing who done until the end type of books. I want the reader to be hanging on every word. I want them to think it was someone else and find out later that the one they suspected was actually innocent, but the one they thought was innocent was guilty. It’s the kind of writing that gives you a giggle and makes you want to jump out of your seat with excitement.

Now, not everyone likes suspense which is fine, but with my newest series, ‘In Harm’s Way’, I’m adding a dab of romance and some Christian essence to give it a different flare. It’s clean, but edgy. Is that even a thing? For me it is and as I’ve always said, it’s a world from my head, so anything goes.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Safe is coming soon, so keep watching for the release date…


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If your story falls apart, use duct tape?

Duct tape is a house staple, just as salt, sugar and flour are food staples. For many years people have fixed almost everything with duct tape. At Church we even fixed a broken Christmas tree with duct tape, no really we did. It’s strong and durable. Also you can get it in any width and color so it’s versatile.

What if you’re story is falling apart? We all have those manuscripts that start out really good and we have a phenomenal ending planned, but the middle has so many holes and fractures that it puts a real stink on the beginning and ending. Well, put a little duct tape on it. What am I talking about? Well, here goes the answer in a nutshell.

By duct tape I mean sit down with your beginning and ending. Then really look at it. Where is the character headed? The middle needs some suspense or issue that needs to carry the reader over the hump to the end. It needs something that only the ending can shed some light on. This is where the duct tape comes in.

As I said above, duct tape is strong and durable with lots of versatility, so the middle of the book needs to be taped up neatly. But be careful not to just add fluffy filler that makes the reader fall asleep with boredom. If the first of the book is power packed, then make the middle explode with tension. This is the strong duct tape. Add an element of complete surprise. Let the main character have a major problem that needs solving, or maybe a secret that is threatening to come out, but the secret has to be life altering.

But make sure that it can mesh with your great ending. I did this one time and a book that started out being only around 30,000 words went over 50,000 words with a little duct tape application. Crazy, but true. I had this really great beginning that pulled you in and the ending left you breathless, but the middle was just a bunch of fluff. As I did my first read through I was almost dozing and that’s not good. I sat down and spread out the beginning and ending, then totally restructured my characters. I added a whole new dimension to them that took them on an adventure that meshed well with the ending and soon I had a complete story that I was proud to hit the publish button on.

So, get you some duct tape and pull that story together. If you use the right duct tape it will hold together nicely.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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How do you contain yourself?

As a writer you have to have some patience. Unfortunately when a story is pressing in on you patience is hard to find. When a story pops into my brain it normally comes in with a vengeance. It presses on my brain until I start writing it. I have to relieve the pressure of getting it started. Usually I get the story outlined before I forget what needs to be said. 

When I start writing the story I get excited and can’t hardly wait to see how the middle and end unfold. I have to contain myself and not just jump through the story and leave out some important information. Sometimes I tend to want to see how it ends before it even begins. That’s kind of like reading a book and skipping to the end because you just have to know how it ends.

Remember if you do an outline, which is very important to me to keep me in line 🙂 then you need to stick with the outline. If you just have to skip ahead, then mark where you stopped and go back to fill in the important elements needed to make the story flourish. 

Hope this helps. Remember you’ve got to be patient and let the story flow out. It’s hard, but if you practice you can do it.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…