Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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When do you take the next step?

monday

Happy Labor Day everyone… I do hope all of you are having a great day!

Ok, so I’ve been pondering something for a while, but I’m still undecided. It’s the same feeling I had just before I pushed the button to submit my first book, Ghost Lover. The feeling is gnawing at my gut and won’t let me sleep, but as I’m a thinker, I’ve been thinking a lot.

So far, I’ve self-published 35 books, made it to the top 55 of Harlequin’s SYTYCW contest, received awards, but there’s still something missing. There’s further to go, but how far? How far do you go beyond where you thought you were going? As I said, it’s gnawing at me and I feel like I’m teetering on the edge of something, but what?

As I’ve researched, read, and followed the publishing world, I realized what I’ve been missing, an agent. So, I reached out to a couple of big time authors that have commented on my work and their consensus seems to be, I need to reach out to a literary agent. But, as this is a big step for me, and if you know me, that’s saying something. Do I do this? Do I give up some of the freedom I’ve had as a self-published author?

You may be wondering, will she or won’t she? I’m going to push forward and do it. This is the week that I put myself out there and see what happens. If nothing happens, I’ve lost nothing, but if something does happen, well, I’ll let you know.

SO, as always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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It’s Monday…all day…

Good morning! Why are Monday’s so rough? It might take the whole pot of coffee this morning. But on the good side, it’s slightly cooler this morning, so, I’ll be doing a little writing outside this morning before I head to the office.

As I’ve been telling you, I’m working on a Scottish Highlander series. I was almost done with the first book when it happened. I know, you’re asking what ‘it’ is, well, let me explain. Ok, I was typing along, loving the storyline when all of a sudden the story took a detour. It went downhill from there, but I kept trudging through, thinking it would get better, but alas, it didn’t.

Needless to say, I pulled back, read it from word one and found where the story went wrong, then did the unimaginable, I pressed delete for two whole chapters, two! It hurt, but on the other hand, it felt liberating. When I started back up, the story took on new meaning and the story is now going well.

It’s funny when you know something isn’t working, but you keep going anyway, just hoping it will change. Now, I’m working on getting back the two chapters of work and finishing up. Since this one will be sent to the editor that wants highlander romances desperately, I’ll be working on the synopsis for the two books that come after it. Yep, I’m submitting for a trilogy. Fingers crossed!!!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…2350462608_44a5fa8914


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Friday…3 day weekend!

Labor Day Sale

It’s a soggy Friday here in our part of Georgia. The wind and misty rain have arrived from Hurricane Hermine and it looks like that’s the setting for the day. But we need the rain here in Georgia.

Time has been flying by. It’s hard to believe September is already here. Since it’s a 3 day holiday weekend here in the states, I’m offering a sale on my Five Oaks Ranch books. Since Ridge is already free, I’m putting Oakley, Chase, Luke and Maggie at .99 for the long weekend. So if you haven’t introduced yourself to the Cauthen brood, then jump in for the sale!

In writing news, the last of the edits are done on Tuscany and it’s with the proofreader now. So, the clock is ticking and it won’t be long before the release party. I’m really excited for Tuscany to make it’s grand debut.

As you know, a writer can make a 90-degree turn in their writing. I was working on my current work in progress when the extreme need to start a new series overtook me and I had to hold production on everything to start it. Well, in three days I’ve gotten five chapters into the series. Then I saw that one of the editors with Harlequin is desperately wanting Highlander romances, which is what the series is all about. I sent her a tweet and she said to send it to her when it’s completed, so, we’ll see where that goes. Now, on to watching the Outlander, (wink-wink), it’s research for the new series.

Hope all of you have a great Labor Day Weekend and stay safe! Remember to do something special with your family, make memories and have some ‘me’ time too…

As always, good writing and May God Bless you…


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Fascination

Fascination, now that’s an interesting word. It means, the power to fascinate someone; the quality of being fascinating. What fascinates you? For me there are many things, like people, they fascinate me. I love to sit and watch people engaged in conversation. The facial expression, the way the get animated telling a story. It’s amazing, the different things you see in their eyes.

Actors, they fascinate me how they weave a story from memory. But it’s not only the memory part, many people can memorize words, but they can’t show you the words. Actors show you the words in their actions, reactions, and expressions.

Words fascinate me. Amazing, huh, since I’m an author. But seriously, the power of words is vast and complex. As a writer, we can create a life that’s not real, but for us a we write it, we can bring a character to life, give them feelings, expressions, features, all with just words. Then we can bring them to our readers and carry them away to other worlds, countries, or times. Amazing, the power of words.

Life is fascinating. Look at the stages of life. We start out helpless babies, then grow into children, teenagers, young adults, middle-age adults, then as we grow past senior adults, we sometimes become helpless again, back to where we started. We’re given a short amount of time of this Earth and it goes by in the blink of an eye, but how do we make our mark, leave our legacy. Deep stuff!

Ok, now to yesterday’s contest, if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, then you know I didn’t make it, but I’m not sad or upset. It’s part of the process we call writing. What fascinates some people is the fact that I’m not upset. But that’s not me, I move forward, not backward. So, on with other contests, other submissions, and other publishing.

Since it’s Thursday, I’ll give you some Throwback Thursday. This is one of the books that the research fascinated me. Reincarnation, dreams, and finding the right time all mixed into one book that filled my thoughts for months before I wrote it.

Here’s a little excerpt:

He bowed his head and shook it from side to side. “I don’t understand how a man that’s been dead for over one hundred years can just take over your heart. How can you even think about going back to him? If you love me, how can you love him too?”

Finding the Right Time

Finding the Right Time front cover


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Reading in bed…

Literature Onboard

It’s finally Friday folks! I can tell you this, thank goodness it’s Friday, but of course, I’ll be working all weekend. At least, it’s a more laid back work situation on the weekend.

How many of you grew up reading in bed? For me, when I was younger, I’d sit in bed and read every night. After my parents told me to turn out the light, I’d pull the covers over my head, with my trusty flashlight, then continue the story that had me spellbound.

I read many different genres back then. Some weeks I’d be hooked on suspense-filled mysteries. Yes, I was a Hardy Boy and Nancy Drew kind of girl. I’d devour them with such a thirst that soon I would be rereading until I could get to the store. It wasn’t like today, I couldn’t just scan and buy on Kindle.

Of course, as I grew older, my nightly reading turned to paranormal, fantasy type books. I’d read books about witches and ghosts. Then I moved to romance, which changed my young life. I would get lost in the romance of the story, the faraway places that the book took me to, it was great.

Everyone gave me books for Christmas, Birthdays, every occasion. I carried a book with me all the time, reading at lunch during school, on the bus, just about everywhere I could. I still have many of the books from my teen years, especially the ones that pulled me in. But they’re yellowing, packed in boxes, ready to be visited again. Often I pull out some of my favorites and read them again, enjoying the thrill of the story and remembering the first time I read it. My collection of Harlequin romances is extensive to say the least.

I still read at night, usually sitting in a warm bath, trying to lose myself for a little while. Some nights when I can’t sleep, I’ll go to the den and curl up in a blanket, then get lost in another story.

The cool thing about my love for books, it fueled the fire to write. I’ve penned books since I was a young teenager and all of this came from reading in my bed at night, usually with a flashlight as the rest of the house slept. Who needed sleep when the heroine was falling in love with the knight in shining armor and needed rescuing?

So, did you read in bed, or maybe you still do…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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Encouraged, not discouraged…

Good Monday morning! Hope all is well with you and hope my northeastern friends are warm and safe. We received a little dusting of snow here in my part of Georgia Saturday morning, but by lunch it was all gone. But it was nice to watch the flakes float down from the sky. Snow falling always soothes me and sets me for a great mood, but since I’m fighting a cold, I didn’t go outside to catch a snowflake, I stayed by the fire.

Now to my post, well, as most of you know I submitted my book Tuscany to Harlequin. After a wait, which I thought would be worse on my nerves, but for some reason wasn’t, I received a response. Of course it’s not the one I wanted, but as a writer, it’s part of the process.

Yes, they sent one of their really nice rejection letters. Of course I could’ve sat down and cried, gave up on writing or just shredded the manuscript, never to let it see the light of day again. But that’s not the way I do things. I saw it as encouragement, not discouragement. Why? Well, let me enlighten you.

The letter gave me some things that they thought I should change and some great advice on picking the particular genre of theirs that I submit to. To me, this was a great letter, not a devastating blow, as some writers say. It encouraged me to step up the game on Tuscany and delve into some deep edits. Of course some of the things they mentioned aren’t drastic changes, just some twists to the story, which I really like.

You might be saying, ‘she can’t be taking this that well’, but I’m a writer, this happens and I still have the fact that Tuscany made it to the top 55 of the contest with Harlequin, so I know it has possibilities. In my opinion, this is like getting a critique from some of the best editors in the business. So what some think of as a loss, I find interesting and plan to do what they said.

So, have you received a rejection letter before? How did you deal with it? Did you make the changes and resubmit?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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As my finger hovered…

submit

Well, it’s a little warmer this morning here in the south, but not by much. The trees outside are beginning to turn slightly, some a little more, which tells me my favorite time of year is upon us. I love the Fall.

But on to the post. Last night I did something that quite frankly scared me to death. No, I didn’t go to a haunted house, not one for those at all! I waited patiently, not exactly patiently, but somewhat, for the final notifications to stream in on the Top 25 for the SYTYCW15 contest. Deep down I knew my name wasn’t on the list, but I had to know for sure before I made a life changing decision. Let me just say this, I was so honored and totally humbled to have made the Top 55 among so many great authors, it was a little overwhelming if I’m to be totally honest.

So as I sat last night, playing with the decision at hand, I took a deep breath and jumped. Yes, I hit submit on Tuscany, meaning it’s in Harlequin’s hands now. To what end, I’m not sure, but we’ll just have to see. This book was totally different from my other ones, it was like a part of my soul went with it last night. Was this the right decision? I think so.

Recently I was on a discussion on Twitter with a couple of Harlequin editors and I asked about this type of book. Would it be something that they’d look at? Immediately a couple of them tagged other editors with Harlequin, stating it was what they were currently looking for. That intrigued me enough to hit the submit button last night.

As for Tuscany’s presence on Wattpad, I don’t know. I’ll probably pull it soon, but for now I’ll leave it there. I’ve received a couple of really great reviews. One said simply, but powerfully, “SWOON!”. This made me smile because I almost swooned as I typed the last paragraph of this book and if you have read it then you know why. Then this morning I received another review stating and I quote, “Wow! One of the best books I’ve ever read on Wattpad or anywhere else for that matter!!” With wonderful reviews like that, I just have this feeling. It’s the feeling I had the first time I hit the submit on Ghost Lover, my first published book. And I’ve never regretted that move, not even once 😉

So, with that said, I’ll keep you updated on what’s happening, but I know it will be a while before I hear anything, if I hear at all.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…