Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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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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Funny questions writer’s are asked…

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Ok, if you’re a writer you know the questions I’m talking about. Sometimes I just have to laugh and try my best to answer the question in the best way I can as I laugh. It’s funny the things that people think about writers. I had to post this picture because you know I love horses and these questions make them laugh too.

Here are some of the zingers that have been asked of me:

1: My favorite is “Did you write that book from an experience you had in your own life? That’s where most writers get their stories right?” Well, some of them have been from experiences but if my life was like a fairy tale, wow how would that be. Then I think of murder mystery writers and have to cringe. If all writing was strictly from personal experience the police would tail all writers obsessively!

2: Can you introduce me to your cover model? Really, you’ve got to be kidding me. I’ve never met any of my cover models. I did get a repin on Pinterest from one of them thanking me for using his picture on a couple of my covers. I was pleased, but I don’t know him personally so no, I can’t introduce you to my cover models.

3: You must be rich, huh? This one makes me laugh hard, really hard. Most published writers do it in their spare time and have a regular job. If not, we’d be really hungry artists. So, no, I’m not rich, not even close. I’m happy with my royalties and thankful to my wonderful fans, but I’m not quite ready to quit my day job.

4: So you can’t get published for real? This one ticked me off the first couple of times I heard it, but then I realized that there are so many people who don’t realize that a lot of authors do consider this a real business and take it seriously. This is a personal choice and I have been approached by publishers, but I am happy where I am for the time being. Then if it’s someone I’m close to I stick my tongue out at them in a very unladylike fashion and laugh. It’s become a really funny question as self publishing becomes the norm. So to me it’s a funny question.

5: Can I have your autograph? Now this one stunned me. Then I laughed because I’m not famous and this seems a little crazy, but I was humbled by it too. But I did laugh because I don’t think of it as being famous because I have several published books, but it’s really funny when someone comes up to me in a store and says, hey you’re that writer.

What funny questions have people asked you? Some people might not think some of them are funny, but to a writer you’ll find the humor in them. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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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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Happy New Year’s Eve….

Well here in the US we only have hours left in 2013, but many of my friends abroad are celebrating the New Year. For those of you that are already in 2014, Happy New Year. I wish you well in the New Year.

I hope that everyone has a great New Year’s Eve. It’s a time to reflect on the year going out and on the possibilites of the new year. For me I am excited about the coming year. I’ve set many goals that are exciting and extremely positive. I’ll let you in on them as they unfold, but for now I’ll just keep them under wraps. 

I have several books in the works that will come out in 2014. That’s exciting and scary. Why does it always scare me when I hit that publish button? The work will have gone through many edits and rewrites, but it’s still a anxious time. Will my readers like it or will it be a huge disaster? I guess that’s the art of this line of work.

As you celebrate the new year remember those that were lost in 2013 and those that were born. It was a year of many changes and so many laughs. 

I’m honored to have been featured in three magazine articles in 2013 and I gained many new friends through my blog and writing. I want to thank all of my wonderful, adoring fans that write to me and make my work worth while. Thanks to all my colleagues who support me and give wonderful advice and sometimes even a high five when something goes right.

So, celebrate and be safe on this New Year’s Eve. I love you guys, you’re all wonderful. See you in 2014!

As always, good writing and May God Bless you…

 


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Series or finish in one?

When you’re writing the book and the story just keeps going and going, so you finish the story or do you make it into a series? Series can be a continuation of the same storyline with the same characters, they can be a continuation of characters that in the first book were in the background, or it can be just a continuation of the same type of story but entirely different story. What will it be?

For me a couple of my books have stood alone completely. I knew and felt good with ending them at the words The End. But some of my stories needed more. Some were supposed to be stand alone but the characters just pulled at me to be more. In my latest book, Open The Heart, I originally planned on it being alone. As I delved into the story around 3/4 of the way in I knew it had more to tell. You may be saying why not just go ahead and make it a mega novel with 50,000 or more words, but in some instances it’s good to just end on a cliff hanger, leaving the reader wanting more. 

In Victoria I knew at the start that it would be a Saga. I knew as I was writing the first chapter how it would end and I built it up to that major cliff hanger which of course has garnered lots of readers writing to me stating that they were hanging on pins and needles. I just smile and know I did the right thing. It’s had several asking when the next book could be expected. What’s funny is they always ask what happens? I can’t tell you until the next book comes out is always my response.

So, what will you next book be? It’s sometimes a hard question. Does your story line have the stamina to carry on for several books? Does your general premise for the book have series quality? Well, let me know how you figure it out.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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The Challenge of Creativity

Why do people constantly put writers down? Have you ever noticed the reaction that non-readers have when you say you’re a writer? Most of the time avid readers are excited and want to know more. But people that don’t read a lot just look at you like you’ve grown a set up horns.

For me it’s hard work to be a writer, an accountant, a children’s minister, a wife and a mom. Not to mention doing housework, finances for our Church and just living. But if it’s your dream and passion you do it through all the madness.

A writer’s life is a challenging one, especially if it’s not your full time job. Finding time to put your thoughts on paper is sometimes the real challenge. As for me it’s usually at night when my family is watching television or after they go to bed. A lot of my writing is done on Saturday after the housework is done and Sunday afternoon. But notes can be found everywhere because as a writer thoughts come into my head and I write them down for future use. Maybe it’s a picture I see, or a phrase I think would work in a scene or even a new book idea.

The fun part of being a writer is when you start building a fan base. The first time a fan emailed me I giggled a lot. It’s so nice to know someone likes your writing. I’m basically a humble person. I had a friend ask me the other day why I didn’t tell her I’m publishing books. I told her I just didn’t want to sound like I was bragging. She laughed and said well its bragging time. I just ducked my head and ran J

So, if you’re a writer, enjoy it. Make time for it and maybe even a special place to write. Mine is on the couch in the recliner with my ear buds in listening to the music I write by. That’s another post altogether.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Writing Emotion

How do you write emotion? To someone that doesn’t write you may think this is easy. Well, it’s not easy to put emotion on paper. In life we feel so many emotions. We feel happy, excited, angry, grief, depressed and the list goes on. But how do you put it on paper? How do you get the reader to feel the emotion themselves?

I’ve read books that made me laugh, cry and even get angry. But how do you relate that feeling in your own writing? It’s all in the way you describe it and put all you have in it. Make sure you put every detail in so that it brings the reader into the situation. If you leave out some of the details it could make the reader become detached.

The words you use to make the description more vivid is key. Go for the gusto, use a Thesaurus if you have to, but make every word count. When making someone cry over a sad part, tell how the tears streamed silently, or their lip trembled as they held back the sobs. Don’t just say they looked sad. To bring about the emotion, you need to describe the facial expressions, the feelings they have and how it’s affecting those around them.

I had a fan tell me that one of my books made her cry from sadness at one point and then from deep happiness by the end. In her review she put to have a box of tissues close by when reading it. I smiled broadly and realized that I’d done my job. 

So, don’t forget to fill in the descriptions and if you laugh as you write or cry, you’ve probably achieved your goal.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…