Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Fear as a writer…

Good morning! Hope all is well with everyone as we start this Thursday morning or afternoon, wherever you wonderful people are 😉

Fear, everyone has felt fear at one time or the other. Don’t lie, you know you have. As a child, we had fear of strangers and storms. As adults, we have many fears. Maybe we fear financial issues, for our children, the future… etc. There are a lot of fears in this world, but I want to talk about the fear as a writer.

The moment I hit submit on Ghost Lover, the first book I published in May 2012, I was sweating. My palms were damp, my heart was racing, in easy terms, I was a mess. What if nobody likes my writing? What if this is a mistake? What if… What if… What if… Then the emails started coming from readers that fell in love with Jared and Jessie. The fear was alleviated for a moment, then came the next book and the next.

Does my fear ease with each book I publish? Some, but not completely. I’m always afraid of the unknown. Even though my books are poured over and over with edits and rewrites and such, I still have that fear that I’m sending out my work with flaws. Even the best-edited book has flaws and I have to remind myself of that. My fans are so precious and let me know every day the pleasure they get from the words I put on the page, but still, I feel like I could’ve added more to the story, went over it one more time, or even changed something.

Then there’s the fear of not selling a single book, yikes…. Yes, that’s a fear. In January, my sales went on a downward spiral and I had to catch my breath. After an amazing end of 2016, it was like a kick in the gut. But, as I sought out other authors to see if it was happening to them, they confirmed that they too were seeing a sharp decline in sales. Even the authors that normally sell thousands of copies a month were down to hundreds. Although that should make me feel better, it only made my fear worse. Had people stopped reading? LOL! Yes, it was an irrational fear, but it still came through this ditsy blonde head.

Then, the sales started to rise. Yes, my fear was going away, but then a new fear arose. Could I do more to keep that from happening again? The truth is, no. We can’t control what people do or trends, so, I picked myself up off the pity floor and moved forward.

So, as a writer, what do you fear?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 

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Stepping out of a hole…

It’s been such a wonderful September with the Romancing September Across the World with my friend across the pond, Rosie Amber. I’ve learned a lot from the different authors. It’s crazy how different all of us are, but in so many ways we’re the same. We all face the same hurdles and somehow we jump them and run toward the next one, but what happens when you jump one hurdle and fall in a hole on the other side?

I just recently released Emma Rose. It was a challenge to me for many reasons. If you’ve never written historically relevant material you might not understand this, but let me enlighten you. I’m constantly reaching for my timeline to keep dates correct and world happenings. You can’t put the cart before the horse so to speak. Well that wasn’t the only challenge with Emma Rose.

Emma Rose presented another problem. When I started out I was headed in a certain direction, but when I got to a crossroads I floundered, in exhaustion I went down the wrong road that took on another persona. I wasn’t happy, but I was too far in to go back, or was I? As I neared the words The End my heart kept telling me it was totally wrong. The story completely lost it’s meaning to me. I had jumped one hurdle and landed in a bottomless pit, falling into writer’s oblivion!

The Saturday before the release date on the upcoming Friday I took a leap that helped me to see the light at the top of that dark hole. I went back to where the story meant something, over thirty word document pages. I highlighted them and saved them in another file and then I did something drastic. I hit delete. As my finger hovered over that ominous black key I struggled with indecision, but finally did it. I deleted 5 whole chapters of a manuscript I’d stayed up late and got up early to finish before the deadline.

I sat for a long while staring at the void in my manuscript I’d just created. I know I saved it but that didn’t lesson my fear. I knew deep down that if I was planning to meet my deadline I had to get scrambling to repair the void. I stepped back, worked on something else that was going along pretty well.

When I came back two hours later it was clear. With determination and some fear I started that section over. The words flowed freely from me as they didn’t when I’d first worked on this section. The story became clear. No longer was it unfocused and dull, it was crisp and clear with a purpose that blowed me away. I knew where it had to go and when I did eventually type The End I was satisfied and teary eyed.

I’d jump a authors worst hurdle, fell in the dark hole and made my way out with exhuberance. It left me totally at peace with the decision and now I know that when it happens again, it’s for the best and just do it.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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The Fear Of Failure

Who’s ever had a fear? Come on, you know you’ve had some kind of fear in your lifetime. We all do, but how do you handle that fear. When I started writing many, many years ago, the biggest problem was I had a fear of publishing. Why? Well, think about it, it’s putting yourself out there. You’re putting your name out there, your reputation and sometimes your creativity.

Ok, so I have fears. I’ve had so many writers message me about this. They’ve written one or more manuscripts, but they fear publishing it. I always tell them to go with their heart. If they get some people to read their work and they like it, then go for it. 

Here’s a list of reasons I feared publishing and sometimes still have a couple:

1. I feared what others would think. (I’ve gotten over that. Now I just don’t worry about it as much. I’ve learned to just write what I love and put it out there.)

2. I feared putting my name on something that would go all over the world. Actually it’s been a blast. Have only had a couple of weird encounters, but mostly have gotten over this one.

3. Crazily enough, a fear I still have every time I hit publish is that I’ve accidently downloaded the wrong file and it will be the character list or outline and not the manuscript. I did actually put the wrong cover on CreateSpace one time, but when I did the file check I discovered it and made the correction. That was a close one.

4. Reviews. You may think this is the same as #1, but it’s not. This is the fear of the dreaded bad review that just makes you feel so deflated. But I’ve learned to deal with those also. I’ve only had a couple of bad reviews and fortunately if anyone reads the review they’ll realize that in some instances the person didn’t read the book to begin with. One bad review was because the characters names were the same as one of my older books. Really! One fan said a negative review of one of my books actually caused her to get the book and she loved it. Funny how things work out.

5. The fear of complete failure. It’s so real in every author’s mind when they publish their work. What if nobody buys my book? I had that fear at first, but as the sales went up I realized that maybe that wasn’t a fear worth having. I’m not a bestselling author, but I’m pleased with the sales I’ve had. Since I’ve only been publishing for a little over a year, I can’t complain.

Well, what’s your fear when publishing, writing or even blogging?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Stalker! My own personal nightmare…

In my post this morning I was talking about the levels of love. I mentioned obsessive love and touched on my experience with a stalker. I decided it might be helpful to others out there if I told my story. Maybe it will give them the courage to stand up and fight.

It started when I was 16. I met a really nice guy at the local skating rink. Well I thought he was nice. Looks and actions can be very deceiving. Since I went every Friday night we developed a friendship, nothing more or so I thought. He never touched me during those days, only conversation. I enjoyed talking to him. We had a lot in common.

One night I was talking about a Youth party our Church was having. I asked him if he would like to go. I had started to like him and thought it would be alright. He jumped on the chance. Well, he came and had everybody just falling all over themselves to be near him. I have to say he was a very nice looking young man. My parents even liked him. They had met him several times at the skating rink. He asked me that night for an official date. Being I had not been on many dates (I had real over protective parents-not complaining), I told him that sounded great.

We went out for a nice dinner and a movie. At the movie we held hands, but nothing really tipped me off that he was not mentally alright. He gave me a quick kiss goodnight and left after our date. Well, being a 16 year old girl I thought this was great. An older man (he was 19-which seemed older to me at the time) was paying me some attention. We started talking on the phone every night the next week. It was on the fifth night that something seemed different. I had mentioned a friend that was a guy had laughed at a joke I told him. This guy went off the deep end. He started swearing and raising his voice. Well, I told him I was hanging up and that started my nightmare.

He started calling all hours of the day and night. He would rant and rave, then it started getting sexual. He started detailing what he was going to do to me when he got his hands on me. I would hang up and he would call back. He even told my dad the same things. He would tell me what I was wearing when I would go into town. He even a couple of times told me what I wore to school. I was terrified.

My dad called the police and they put a tap on our phone. When the investigator heard this guys conversation, he was mortified. He had my principal at school watching out and I couldn’t go out without an adult. One night we were having a Christmas party and he called repeatedly. He talked awful to anyone who mistakenly answered. I got to the breaking point. I lost weight, I stopped eating. I was scared. He was watching me at a distance, but nobody could catch him.

One day I got home from school and collapsed. Both from exhaustion and complete misery. The investigator ramped up the case. They finally were able to catch him in the act. He was living with his older brother and they played the tapes for him. He called and begged us not to press charges that his brother had a mental disorder. We knew it would be the only way he got help, so we pressed charges. The judge would not allow me in the court room because the guy had implied he would get me there too. My dad went.

The guy was sentenced to two years in prison with mental therapy. He served 18 months and go out for good behavior. Well, guess who was the first person he called. Me! It started again. Well, the investigator was ready and he was put back in prison for 6 more months. After some therapy of my own, I was able to move on with my life.

I’ve not heard back from him. Thank goodness. I want anyone that has had this happen or is having it happen, please get help. People like this are sick and capable of anything.