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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In A Writer’s View…

Have you ever thought about what a writer was thinking when they wrote their books? Take for instance Romeo & Juliet which is a great, tragic romance, but what on earth was he thinking. I just wonder how popular he was at the time of his big debut. Did he get good reviews? Maybe he would have made it to the top of the New York Bestseller’s list if it would have been available then.

Then you have some of the more recent literature and you wonder where they learned about what they wrote about. Sometimes I wonder if horror writers sit around and try to figure out the grossest way to kill someone. Makes for good conversation over dinner with friends. “Hey, how would you like to kill someone?”. Good way to end up alone on Friday night.

Oh and don’t let me forget romance, my favorite genre. I’ve read some books that I wonder if the writer had experienced personally what happened in the book because it was so real. Then other times I wonder if they even know what romance is. I’ve read romance novels that don’t even show any romance and yet they’re supposed to be a romance. 

I’ll tell you how I feel when I write. If it’s a sad part I usually cry. That’s when I know I’ve gotten to the core of the emotion. Then when I’m writing a really sweet, romantic part, well I usually cry again, but the point is I try to put as much emotion as I can. I was writing a part the other night where the main character was very angry and I laughed when my son asked why I was scowling so hard. I was actually angry with the other character. I guess that’s getting lost in the Writer’s view.

In my opinion God gave us emotions and we need to show them. Well sometimes we need to know when not to show them, but in writing the more emotion the better. Make the reader feel what you feel. I’ve had fans tell me they had to use a box of tissues reading one of my books. One even said they started really liking cowboy romance after reading on of them. I try to make my cowboys have feelings, but still be ruggedly handsome and able to take care of any situation.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you…


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Polishing it up!

When you start a new manuscript your mind is on the content. Which it should be, but there comes a time when you have to polish the writing. A time to create a cover that will represent your words.

A big polish is the editing. Is it important? Well, yes. If you just write the book and publish it without going back over it, that would be writers suicide. I’ve found throughout my short writing experience that the first read through after finishing a manuscript usually prompts changes, additional wording and even total chapter eliminations. It can really open your eyes for character changes and minor tweaks.

After the editing is done, are you happy? If you are like a lot of writer you may never be completely happy with your work. I know I’m my worst critic. I over analyse my work. Even after it is published I’m constantly saying “I wish I would have written that part differently.” My editor just shakes her head and laughs at me. I can’t help it, I can be a worrier.

Then you have the almost impossible task of writing a paragraph that will sum up the whole book. How on earth do you describe your book in just a couple of words? This is harder than writing the whole book. If you don’t say just the right thing will people even give it a second look? Will you be able to express the real feeling of the way the book should be perceived? The next time you read the back of a book, remember the author had only so many words to describe their whole piece of work, don’t judge a book by it’s description.

Also, sometimes don’t judge a book by it’s cover. When you select your cover art you have to put into one cover the whole feeling of the book. If you write romance you have to express a feeling pulled from the book into the cover. If you write horror you have to put some of the fear into the cover to pull in the reader. But you have to be careful not to show the end results of the book. You have to leave some mystery.

Well, that’s just a few of my writing ramblings. Maybe some of this helped you, maybe not. It’s just the opinions of one writer.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you!


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Books are like Snowflakes!

You’re probably saying to yourself, what? I was going through my manuscripts that are in the works and was surprised at the varied topics. As I looked at them I thought about how different books can be. Just as with snowflakes, books can have so many different shapes, angles and looks.

You have so many genres. They include romance, children’s , christian, comedy, adult, science fiction, horror, and paranormal just to name a few. It’s amazing how many genres are out there now that weren’t available just a couple of years ago. If you have a certain thing you like, just Google and I bet you’ll find a book in that category.

Then you have the size. Books can be as short as 2500 words up to well the sky’s the limit. Books can be big in size or really small to where you can hold them in your palm. I’ve even seen different shaped books.

Well, then you get into the writing styles. Every writer has their own style. Some are more formal than others. Some have a dry style while others have a sweet style. It’s amazing when you pick up a book from a new author, whether it be a author that just jumped into the publishing world or one that is a veteran but you’ve never read from them, how different every author is. I’ve read some authors and been amazed at their descriptive abilities, but maybe read their second book and it was totally different. Some authors write many different genres. They jump from one to the other trying to make their mark in the publishing world.

I don’t know about you, but I’m glad that books are like snowflakes. If everybody wrote the same way in the same genre it would be a boring world. In my opinion the world of reading and writing is changing everyday. Every day a new genre is born and a new style reader. So get reading and try a new genre. You might be surprised at how much you like it.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you!
snowflakes


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How authors are portrayed.

Have you ever read a book and you had an idea in your head what the author would look like?  Come on, you know you have. Well, since becoming a published author I’ve thought long and hard about the portrayal of authors. If you write a horror story does that make you ugly and mean? If you write a romance does that make you beautiful and romantic? No, the genre you write in doesn’t make you who you are.

I’ve talked to people that know me and they always say, “Yeah, I can see you writing romance novels.” Why do they say that? What makes me more of a romance novelist than someone else? In my opinion nothing. Who says I couldn’t write a gory horror story, well I personally couldn’t but just by looking at me you wouldn’t be able to tell that.

It’s profiling plain and simple. Just like with models, everyone thinks they all have eating disorders, but not all of them do. Some of them are naturally skinny, it’s just in their nature. One of my favorite authors of romance and I’m not mentioning any names, but she was totally different from what I portrayed her as. I could see the younger person and she turned out to be a retired grandmother. This in no way made me stop reading her work because I still love her writing. It actually spurred me on because I hope I can write as well as her when I get to be a grandmother. Wait, I am a grandmother, well a step grandmother.

Oh well, good writing and may God bless you!