Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Without Internet! What I learned

Good morning! It’s good to be back with the rest of the world. If you’ve noticed I was absent for several days, which is due to the fact that I had no internet since last Wednesday. It was very eye-opening, to say the least, and here’s what I learned in those six days without connection to the world.

Let’s start with, I grew up in the age before the internet; so I’m aware of what it’s like not to have it, but when you run a business in today’s world, it’s detrimental to have it. I never realized until this past six days how many of my programs need the internet to run efficiently. Of course, I could do some things, but the bulk of the program wouldn’t work due to no connection to the main server, wow!

As a writer, it was a quiet time with no conversations with fans or fellow writers. Also, I finished a book and was set to release it, but guess what can’t do that without internet. And as a writer, I need to promote, promote, promote, that also can’t be done without the internet. I felt like I was out in a remote field somewhere without food or water, in regards to my writing. But as luck would have it, I was able to meet my daily word counts and expand on them without the interruption of social media, that was a plus!

In a whole, I felt disconnected with the world and I can say I’m happy to be back with the living. It’s not just the social media aspect, which is important when you are an author and also run a website/publishing company, but it’s the fact that in today’s world, the internet holds an important role in most everything we do.

With that said, it’s wonderful to be back with all of you wonderful people. Now, on with my life which is already in progress.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you…

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How hooked are you?

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Good morning! I do hope all of you are safe and well after those nasty storms that came through the southern US. As for me, did you notice no post from me yesterday. Well, I had no power for most of the day. If you know me well, or even if you just know me from social media interaction, then you know I try to post most days. 

While my power was off and I was unconnected to all of my electrical devices, I had lots of time to think. Think? Wow that’s a large word when you think about it. How often do we just sit and think? No really, how often? Yes we use our brains, but most of the time it’s connected to some sort of electrical device, especially internet driven devices. Whether it’s your computer, smart phone, or whatever it is that you use to do everything, you’re probably hooked. 

I sat here thinking about how much power means to us today. It’s like life shuts down when the power does. But if you think about it, we’re so hooked on the gadgets that make life easier that we can’t function when it goes south. I sat down on my couch and tried to figure out what I would do until the power came back on. The sad thing was, I had payroll for a client to complete, but my computer addicted brain had a hard time dealing with the process of manually completing the task. That’s when I sat down and took a hard look at me life. When it’s quiet and nothing is happening you can do that without interruption. 

I realized that I’m addicted to power. Whatever happened to actually doing something for ourselves without relying on a gadget to do it for us. I stood up and walked to my office with determination. Of course I had to drag my teenage son with me so he could hold the flashlight. I pulled out the employee paperwork on each employee, I dusted off the payroll tax sheets and I grabbed some checks and a pen. Oh yeah, and the solar powered calculator. I sat down with a old oil lamp and proceeded to figure payroll the old way. My son sat watching and shaking his head. He kept saying, ‘Can’t you wait until the power comes back on?’ I just kept going and soon I had a completed payroll ready for delivery.

The hard part was the social media disconnect. I sat for a moment wondering if I made any sales during the night, wondering how all my social media friends had faired the night of storms and wanting desperately to check my Twitter feed. Sad, but true. I realized again I’m addicted to everything power connected. 

Unfortunately, most of my work is connected to power. My clients files are loaded on my laptop, which has a battery of course, but my accounting program drains that battery really quickly. I did a couple of things that didn’t require my laptop, but I was limited. I did work on some of my manuscript outlines. I still do those old school long hand. It’s just the way I am. I tried putting those on the computer, but it’s easier to have them beside me as I write, not in a file that I have to pull up.

So, my question is this, How hooked are you on electricity or even the internet and social media? If you were without power for a week, would you pull your hair out or make the best of it? 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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I’m back, did you miss me?

Well, I’ve been with internet since Monday afternoon. It came back up yesterday long enough for me to pay bills and bloop there it went. It’s just come back up this afternoon so I’m quickly doing a post before it goes again. Hopefully it won’t because I have a Christmas book to get published. 

Hope everyone has been doing well this week. I can say this that I was able to really knuckle down and finish my Christmas book and now to the edits for a 2nd run through. I’m so excited about this one. I can’t wait to share it with all my faithful readers. 

As for writing I’ve been piddling with a couple of other stories as usual. Also working on my Valentines book which is the sequel to The WInner Is Love which was last years CHristmas Romance. I’ve had several people asking when it was coming out and now I can tell you that it should be out in January or early, early February, just in time for Valentines Day.

If you get a chance run over to Avonromance.com and check out the many Christmas romances they have to offer. I think you’ll be well satisfied.

I will do a longer post tomorrow, that is if my internet is behaving.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you…


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Self Publishing: Do or Don’t?

I’ve read several posts lately regarding the decision whether to go traditional publisher or do it yourself. It’s a hard question to answer without some investigating your options. That’s what I did before I published my books. Here’s my findings and remember, this is just my experiences and opinions.

When I first decided to publish my books I sent a query letter to a traditional publisher. Well, after several months I didn’t receive a response and I was really wanting to the book out. So, being the person I am, I started looking into other options. I didn’t know a lot about self publishing, but soon I was immersed in the how-to’s. It was an interesting concept. What really impressed me was the royalty rates versus traditional rates.

One of the issues was that in traditional publishing you have someone doing book promos for you and the self publishing market you do it yourself. Being an accountant by trade I wasn’t sure about this. But with more in depth investigating I realized I could do this. Thank goodness my assistant is in college and she is very with working computer magic.

The funny thing is that it was easier than I had ever imagined. I was not a social media butterfly, so easing me into that part of the marketing was extremely funny to my assistant. The first time I received a follower on Twitter I was like, really, someone I don’t even know followed me. She just laughed and rolled her eyes. Since then it’s been crazy. I blog, I tweet and I have my books on every website I can find. My accounting office has turned into publishing central.

We even design our own covers and have gotten some real good reviews on them. I have gotten a couple of calls from traditional publishers wanting me to sign with them. That’s been gratifying but the only thing is some of them want me to pay for their services. I asked one the other day and they are a big publisher, what are you going to do to market my book? Guess what, I was doing the same exact thing they were going to do, and paying thousands less than they wanted to do it.

So, I guess with me, I’ve had a good experience with self publishing. I won’t say that I’ll never go with a traditional publisher, but for now I’m happy with doing it myself. I have been talking with a small publishing company that is interested, but that will be later on. At least with self publishing I can get it out there now, not next year.

Hope this helps you if you’re trying to decide. As always great writing and May God bless you!


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Loss of Technology leads to MELTDOWN!

Well the things that nightmares are made of happened to me on Thursday afternoon. It started with a simple request from my phone provider which also handles my internet service and fax line. They wanted to help lower my bill so they convinced me to combine my lines assuring me that I would only be down for a couple of hours. Well…

Being an accountant and writer I depend on my internet to keep up to date in my business. I am currently having to take online courses to keep up to date with the IRS. Also to keep up with my cyber friends. So my internet is a necessity.

Well you can imagine when the deadline for my services to be restored came and went I started to panic slightly. Three hours later my panic was rising to stressful levels. I asked my husband five hours into the “Black Out” as I labeled it, when had I let technology start ruling my life. He laughed and said it had been a while. He told me to take a warm bath and work on my book. I could not even face my laptop.

Upon waking yesterday, or I might as well say just getting up from no sleep, I crossed my fingers and turned on my laptop. Well, the little icon was still red and my DSL light was blinking a demon eye red. It watched me and winked at me for five hours. I started to sweat and have withdrawals. I could not eat, I could not sleep. It was terrible. I was slipping into a frenzied insanity.

After four different associates and four terrible hours on hold off and on, I got results. The lady said the words that made my heart sing “Hallelujah”, they were “your service will be back to full status by end of business day”. My stomach growled and said “now you can eat”. I took my son out to lunch and came back to a solid green light. The demon was gone from my desk and I took a cleansing breath.

It was like a awakening as I opened my browser and was able to connect. My fax line went crazy from client fax back up and business was back to “normal” or as normal as it can get. So that was my 24 hour meltdown without technology. I don’t want to go through that again. I was back to writing last night. Sad how technology takes over your life. You don’t know how bad a case of technological obsession you have until you have to go 24 hours without it. Have a great day fellow bloggers!