Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Writing, the experience

I’ve experienced so many emotions as I write. It’s amazing the things that go through your mind as you push out that story. You know what I’m talking about if you’re a writer. Sometimes it’s that feeling that makes you think you’re going crazy. Ok, so maybe not every writer experiences this, but I do and I’ve talked to several authors who say the same thing. 

Here’s what I’m talking about. It’s the feeling of getting lost in the story. You get filled with the characters emotions and actions. It takes over your brain and at times you have to shake your head to get it out. I’ve been so lost in my writing that I’d block out everything around me. My family sometimes have to actually nudge me because I can’t hear them. 

One of my books has a kidnapping section in it and when I was writing this scene I actually felt my heart racing with fear. It was as if I was feeling the fear my character felt. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s the emotional bond you have with the characters you write. When the character was rescued I actually sighed with relief. 

Then you have those moments when you’re out somewhere or working at your day job and the writing bug hits. It’s like the flu. It hits quickly and rapidly takes your thinking processes away from what you’re doing. The symptoms can range from breaking out into a sweat, intense staring (Nobody or no one person is immune to that stare), itchy fingers, the loss of logical speaking, and then the immense need to find something, anything to write on. It can be a napkin, envelope, gum wrapper(that’s not the best thing but it works), or any writing surface that presents itself in front of you. I have notes everywhere, it’s crazy. 

Of course the worst feeling for a writer is the dreaded writer’s block. You’re sitting there writing and all of a sudden you lose the whole feeling for the story. Your mind goes completely blank. It’s as though the book in your mind has been erased and all you see is a blank page. You sit with your fingers poised above the keyboard, you break out into a sweat, you’re disoriented and confused about the new feeling, then you get concerned. Maybe you have a deadline and this is not the time to draw a complete blank. The funny thing is minutes earlier your brain had the whole story completely outlined and now NOTHING! 

The best feeling to me is when you hit publish. Of course it’s the most scariest feeling too. You’re euphoric at finishing your baby that you’ve fed, cleaned and babied for  what seems like forever and then you have to send it away. Then it hit’s you, oh my goodness I just finished a novel and put it in someone’s hands. Now you wait. You wait for the responses, the sales (this you just hope to see something), the criticism, and the rewards. Hitting that publish button can cause you a moment of every emotion imaginable.

For me it’s really a strange feeling when someone you don’t know comes up to you in a store or event and says ‘hey, you’re that romance writer’. I know I turn red as a beet. I’m not a person that loves for someone to shower me with praises. I’m a shy person at those times. I get embarassed and excited all at the same time. Of course the hidden diva inside is jumping up and down, squealing with delight, but I’m not a diva on the outside by no means. 

There are so many emotions and experiences a writer goes through. It’s different for everyone, but it all comes down to the experience of a writer. I love being a writer and expressing my love for the craft. It brings me great joy and it’s a thing of pride to hold a finished book in my hands. I hope you find the joy of writing that I’ve found. Smile, someone might be reading your finished book at this very moment. You may be changing someones life with your writing. If you’ve been holding back on pushing that publish button then you’re not giving yourself enough credit. Do it. You’ll feel better after you do.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Facing Fears…

In life we have things to deal with. Sometimes we’re alright with them and other times we’re not alright. For me, one of my fears or phobias is the dentist office visit. I don’t know why, but I just break out in a sweat thinking about it. I try to avoid it. 

I know, it’s crazy but true. I even get nervous taking my son to the dentist for a cleaning. It has to be the sounds, smell, or something. We have a awesome dentist and he’s also a family friend, but still can’t handle it.

Well, today I have to face my fears. I was enjoying some chocolate chip cookies Saturday and broke a tooth. I sat there for a moment thinking no, not this. My husband said “Honey, it happens.” Maybe so, but I don’t want it to happen to me. That means I have to go to that place. You know, the dentist office. He laughed and said I’d live. I know that, but it’s the thought and fear.

Oh well, I’ve got to just be brave and get it taken care of. I’ve prayed on it and feel better, but nerves are still just jangled. I even tried to work on my book last night and kept thinking about it. I know, I have a problem.

As we go through life, we have to face many fears. One of them was publishing my books for the first time. I was actually afraid of putting myself out there. After I hit publish the first time, I broke out in a sweat. It was a fearful time. Should I put myself out there? I’m glad I did it. It’s been a huge learning experience. I’ve been strengthened by this too. 

Have you faced any of your fears lately? What were they? How did you handle it?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Sometimes I wonder…

Have you ever wondered what would have been if… Sometimes I sit and wonder what things would have been like if I’d have followed my original life plan. I would be playing in an orchestra and probably in another country. Funny how things change, for the better.

As I was sitting last night working on my historical romance I got to thinking back to two years ago. My manuscripts were in a drawer in my desk. They were hidden from the world for only my eyes. Then my neice which is also my assistant and now my editor and business partner, she found them and read them. Oh my! It felt odd having my work read. I felt suddenly vulnerable.

It’s the same way I felt when she persuaded me to published the books. Of course we had to polish them up and make them ready. I felt open to let down. But amazingly enough I gained some faithful fans and many new friends.I’m so glad she gave me that gentle nudge, well it wasn’t real gentle, it was more of a push. Now I’ve embraced the experience instead of wanting to run and hide my head. I still don’t tell a lot of people I write. 

But sometimes I wonder what would have happened if she’d never found them. Would I have eventually followed my dreams and published them? Would they have collected dust until I passed away and my son found them. Would he have published them or thrown them away? Hard to tell, but sometimes I wonder what if…

What do you wonder about? Is it something from the past or someone? Do you have a manuscript hid in a desk desperately wanting recognition? What do you wonder about…

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

 


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Having the courage to jump!

I’ve read so much lately in blogs from want to be authors that are afraid to take the first step. I can tell you from experience it’s a huge step to take. I’ve enjoyed every step since then. It’s a lot to take in at first, but then you kind of get into the swing of things and it just happens.

I knew it had happened the first time I got a fan email. I giggled like a teenage girl. The thoughts running through my head were ‘do they know I’m just a normal person’ and ‘this is so cool.’ That fan has turned into a friend as have so many of my blog friends. It would never have happened without having the courage to jump…

Here are the steps I took to establishing myself as a writer and self publishing:

1: First and foremost you’ve got to finish your manuscript. Pray…

2: Make sure that you’ve read and reread it several times. Edit as much as possible.

3: Decide what genre your writing is. That means is it romance, sci-fi, horror, nonfiction, or one of the many genres available. 

4: Design your cover. This is sometimes tricky, but exciting when it’s complete. 

5. Write a short and long description of your work. This is for the book sales. Don’t get too wordy with this. The best way is to use descriptive words to describe the feeling of the book. By all means don’t give away the plot. Prayed a lot through this process…

6. Now where do you want to put your book. Amazon, Smashwords, B & N or the many other places. This is the fun part because each one wants something different. So read everything before hitting send.

7: Once you’ve set up your books on different sites, it’s time to market. I started with my blog and Twitter. Then I started finding other marketing places. I will do a blog this week on marketing.

8: Sit back and pat yourself on the shoulder. You’re an author! Just watch and see what happens. If it doesn’t do much for a while, don’t worry. It took a couple of months for my books to catch on. Pray again and give thanks 🙂

 

Of course everyone has a different approach, but this was mine. I’m available to any author that needs help. I design covers and help format/edit. If you need help with these, just send me a message and let’s talk. Authors have to stick together. It’s a crazy world out there and team work makes the dream work.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you…


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Life: You’re the Author

In life we write our own stories. We determine how our life goes. God created us, but he gave us life choices. How do we choose? Which road do we go down? Is grass and dirt starting to take over your road?

In life we make the decisions that take us to the next part. Decisions we make mark the future for us. If you decide to drink and drive you’re deciding your life book could end on the drive home. If you decide not to take the job offer and then find out there’s nothing else available, then you made that decision to stay unemployed. (Sometimes that’s the best road to take.)

As an author I’ve thought about the life I’m writing for myself. Do I want to get to the end of my life and look back only to wonder what I accomplished? No, I believe in taking the bull by the horns and stepping out on faith. It’s just like a review on a book. Do you give your life a 5 star rating or does it fall flat at 1 or less?

Think of your life as a book you’re going to sell. Would you want to read about your life? Have you done anything remotely special? We all have moments in our life that are spectacular. Those moments can include marriage, the birth of your child, and vacations. But what about the in between moments. 

My challenge to you is to live life. Experience the moment. Don’t let life come to a close without enjoying what God has given you. Go ahead, write the great american novel, or try to. At least you can say I tried. Don’t come to the end and say I wish I would have…

As always good writing and May God bless you in all you decide to do in life. Remember to keep Him in your life and all will go well. 🙂


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Crazy things that happen to Accountants!

Well Paula Acton one of my wonderful blog friends suggested it would be funny to list the top 10 funniest deduction requests. So I decided to tell some of the funny things that have happened over the years.

1: I had a lady put down as a dependent a child named “Fluffy Ball” complete with a birthdate but no Social. I just sat and looked at her like “Are you kidding me?”

2: I had a woman ask me if they could claim her husband’s mistress as a dependent. (He was sitting beside her at the time)

3: I have had so many marriage proposals I have quit counting. (Usually these come after I get them a huge refund or straighten out their messes) I always laugh and tell them to get a grip!

4: I had a guy that handed me his list of deductions for his Lawn Care business. It included his ski boat, new pistol and his new hunting rifle. I politely handed it back to him and told him to start over…

5: I had one guy ask me to move into his office because the phone calls and visits were not helping. He had a mess!

6: I am listed in several of my clients wills as the person to find out where everything is.

7: I had one wife that did not like me because her husband kept telling me he loved me. He got nice returns every year and he didn’t realize I was just doing my job.

8: I have one client that calls me his second wife and she agrees with him. I asked him one day if I was on the insurance policy and he just laughed and winked. (Yikes)

9: One client got angry when he owed tax and stormed out of the office. He returned ten minutes later when his wife brought him back to apologize and pay me a big tip for being an idiot. (Her words not mine, but I was thinking it!)

10: I had a lady ask if I could tell from the tax papers if her husband was having an affair. (No!)

11: For some reason most of my clients think I have a degree in Psychology. I did take it in college, but not my major or minor. They will call and want to get advice. I guess I am just too easy to talk to.

12: The best one was when this lady called and asked if I would handle their tax return. I said no problem, we still had a couple of weeks left in the season. When she arrived she asked me to hold the door for her. I was curious so I held the door as she proceeded to bring in ten large plastic bins full of paperwork. I turned to my assistant and smiled. I charge by the hour to separate tax paperwork over the normal stuff. She then proceeded to tell me they had not filed in 8 years. I had to sit down. The bins had everything from birth certificates, prom pictures and bullets!!!

So how many of you are rushing out now to get that Accounting degree. It is totally hilarious how crazy these people can be. I love it. The marriage proposals bother my husband as some of these men are wealthy, handsome men. I just smile and tell him it keeps him on his toes.

Now you know why I have to lose myself in writing. I have to get it off my brain. Some of it can cause nightmares!!!

SO as always, good writing and God Bless!


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Why publish a paperback?

I had someone laugh at me for publishing my books in paperback. I was astonished. For a few seconds I could not even respond. When did we lose the art of picking up a paperback and turning pages. I still get a thrill out of picking up a book and reading, don’t get me wrong, I still use my Kindle too. But there is something about the smell of a paperback and the feel in your hands. Maybe I’m old fashioned and I won’t apologize for that, but it still holds a special place in my life.

Also, on the point of publishing, it feels really good to hold a book in your hand that has your name on the front. It is like when you are pregnant, the baby is in your stomach and it is obvious that their is a baby there, but when you can actually hold it in your arms it makes it real. Just like with a book. The first time I held one of my books in my hands was surreal. I actually shed a tear or two. It was so different from looking at it on a computer screen or a e-reader.

I can also tell you that Shakespeare feels different when read on the computer. There is something about the classics in book form that just pulls you in and grabs you. SO please do not throw out all of your books. If you have not picked up an actual book lately, try it. You might find out that it still has potential. By the way there are still many people who do not have e-readers, so you have to get your books in their hands too.

Well, I’m off my soapbox until next time. Have a great Friday and as always have a blessed one and good writing! Remember today starts the weekend. (We have Fall Break next week so I’m sleeping in!!!)