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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Writing Goals for the New Year

Goals… Do you set goals? Do you have a word count that you try to meet everyday? Do you try to put out a couple of books a year? Well for me I try to work everyday on my manuscripts. Sometimes life steps in and I get side stepped, but I plan to make up for lost time this weekend. 

For me goals are important. If you don’t have something to strive for then what’s the point. I have set goals on my book releases and also my accounting business. Life is going to be getting very busy in January. If you haven’t read my bio, I am an Accountant and that means tax time is right around the corner. What’s funny is the last two years when I would get the busiest in my office, the characters would get restless and I’d actually have higher word count outputs. Weird but true.

I had an accounting colleague ask me last year how on earth I wrote during tax season. Well it’s really easy when you need something to decompress with at night. I usually work really long hours from January through April, but when I do get to sit down and focus, I can just spit it out like a rushing river in a flood. Amazingly enough I actually have my daily schedule set up this year for writing to be intertwined with accounting work. That way I can decompress during the day too. 

I have several goals set for the new year. I want to get my 2nd books in the Lean On Him series, Alpine Romance Series, The Winner Series and The Women of Magnolia Hill Saga out and going as soon as possible. I laughed as I worked on my goals for 2014 and realized I had several series going along with some stand alones. Funny how writers can have several dramas going on at one time. 

So, what are your writing goals? What are your expectations for 2014? Do you have a plan?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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The Editing Process – What?

Well, I’ve been busy with the Romancing September Across The World Blog Tour that has been going on since September 1st along with my friend Rosie Amber. It’s been pretty awesome to say the least. The 30 authors in the lineup are great and everyone needs to go over and check them out.

As for my writing, well let’s just say it’s been an interesting couple of weeks. As you may remember I had slated for Victoria to be released on September 15th, well it’s actually going to be September 30th. I had a issue with, dare I say, Editing 🙂

When I’m writing I normally step back every so many pages and reread that section. It’s just a habit I have and it keeps me focused on the work ahead and what was behind me. Well, this one, somewhere around the middle I got so into the writing that I shirked that habit and kept on writing. Not good…

While I was doing my first edit I did my usual spell check to start with. As I meandered down the list of the usual extra spaces and misspelled words, I found almost a whole paragraph of just random letters. I was perplexed for a moment, then as I read the paragraph above and below I remembered that section was from one of my late night writing sessions. Guess I was writing and not actually looking at my work. I’m bad about that when I’m really into it. Not a good habit.

Well, Spellcheck was complete and I began to read the story. I had the usual things to change like wording that when read again did not quite work and scene issues. Then I ran up on a funny little mishap. For some reason my character Victoria had suddenly gotten electricity in her home, keep in mind this book is based during the Civil War, no electricity in this home. But sure enough, she flipped on the light switch. I did a double take on that one. Then I laughed hysterically, it had been a long day, at my goof. She should have lit a lantern, not flipped on the light switch. Really, she was the first to have electricity in her home, no not really. 

As I’ve stated in several of my blogs, editing is a must. If I’d have not edited and sent that out, well let’s just say, it might have gathered a few sarcastic reviews. Editing is a tedious process, but if you do it while writing and then as soon as you finish it’s an easier task. 

So, learn from my goof ups, edit, edit, edit. Oh, and then edit some more. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You!

Here’s a couple of links to check out:

http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-2t6 Day 5 of our blog tour from Rosie

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/353698 


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“Victoria” Cover Reveal

I think this has been the hardest book cover for me. I’ve had in my mind what I wanted since I started to work on this book back last summer. But what’s funny about my mind is that it has a mind of it’s own. No really 🙂

I sat down with my cover designer and drew out what I had in mind. Well after several eyebrow arches and looks of “What?” later, she told me to hunt the pictures and we’d put it together. 

As I searched the pictures I found two really cool antique looking photos and well, let’s just say that was it. My mind changed and the cover took on a whole new look. What’s even funnier is that the book that started out as a stand alone has turned into a several book saga. Well, I’ve always said the mind of a writer is crazy and takes many turns. Here’s that curvy road of my mind. 

So without further talk, here’s the front cover for “Victoria” the first book in the “Women of Magnolia Hill Saga” :

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Let me know what you think. I’m so excited about this one. It took on a life of it’s own and with my very talented cover designers extraordinary talents it’s done. Now I’ve got to get the book done. It’s over 20,000 words and hopefully will be 3 or 4 times longer when finished. 

As always, Good Writing and May God Bless You…


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Social Media and writing books

One year ago I was in the editing process of the first book I published. At that time I was just a normal (Well as normal as I can be) accountant. I didn’t have a Twitter account, refused to go on Facebook and didn’t think much about social media. Funny huh!

Now I’ve got social media accounts running out my ears. But that’s one thing I learned was that you have to go social media crazy when you publish a book. That is if you want to succeed.

My first venture into the social world was this blog. It has been so much fun. I at first wondered what I would write about on a daily basis. Then I laughed at myself because I guess you would say I’ve got a writers brain. If I could write a 400 page novel surely I could handle a blog post. So far so good. I don’t guess I’ve put anyone to sleep yet, or at least I hope not anyway. 🙂

Then the social media world spiraled. My editor set up a Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook for each book, then one for me, Goodreads, Shelfari, LibraryThing, Pinterest, Reddit, and the list goes on. It takes me a good part of two cups of coffee in the mornings to get through all of them. I actually look forward to the new additions to my pages from all of my new friends that I’ve gained from all over the world through these sites. It’s never a dull moment. I love reading all of the posts from other bloggers. I’ve learned a lot.

So, as a writer you’ve got to embrace social media and just go for it. I’ve been conducting an experiment with my smashwords book stats and Twitter. When I Tweet my books from the Smashwords website the views skyrocket. It’s funny how that simple click of the key just  makes people curious. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless you…


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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!