Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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When writing Historical Romance…

Have you written historical romance yet or a historical thriller even? To me, writing historical romance is more difficult than contemporary. Why? Well, let me explain.

As I was working on ‘Lily’ yesterday, I got to a part where they were stepping off the train in a new town. That sounds simple, but then I thought about the towns description. Now this part is based in the late 1890’s, so what was around in that time period? Were there still wagons around, had the car been invented (no, I couldn’t remember when the car was invented), or did some towns have electricity then?

The funny thing was, in one part, and yes, it’s still a clean, Christian historical romance, but as the couple walked down the sidewalk they come across a ‘brothel’ and since my main character ‘Lily’ is from a small, Georgia town, she asked about what it was. So, I looked up words for a brothel from that time period, gee I hope nobody looks at my Google searches! Needless to say, the thesaurus was my friend, yet again.

There’s so much to writing historical literature that many don’t think about. Your character can’t simply walk into a room and flip the light switch. Yeah, I had my character walk into a dark room, then realized she needed to light her lantern, so I went back and wrote that in. I had a giggle about that one. Poor thing, I left her in the dark for 5 whole paragraphs before I realized my mistake.

Since I’m writing four historical romances this year, all from different time periods, Google will be my best friend. It’s a good thing that history was my favorite subject in school, but of course, that was …. many years ago, we won’t go into the number of years. As my son puts it, I am part of history, meaning old history. LOL!

So, have you tried writing historical romances? Did you have a hard time keeping it historical, without including more contemporary elements?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

By the way, Lily is now up for preorder!

 


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Introvert, yes or no?

Good Monday morning everyone! Can you believe the weekend is over? Of course, today is a holiday for many, but sadly, if you’re an Accountant or Tax Preparer, well, you’re hard at work. Of course, I’m on holiday in my mind, which brings me to the point of this post.

Are you an introvert? The Huff Post did an interesting article recently with several points to think about. As I went over each one of them, I got the confirmation, I’m legit. I have almost all of the symptoms, but that’s alright. It’s not like I’m crazy or anything, well, let’s just say I’m not ready for the straight jacket, not yet.

I don’t go out a lot, which is alright with me. Actually, my husband is the same way, which works really well. I’m perfectly content, sitting at night by the fire, writing. I slip into the world of my characters and don’t need the world outside the house. Many worry about me, saying I need to get out, that it’s not normal to be content staying home. But, that’s me. Others have to have the outside world to feel normal or find happiness. I don’t and that confuses people.

As most writers can tell you, we see more of the world in our writing than most see in their lifetime. Just last Summer, I went to Tuscany in my writing world. It wasn’t crowded and had no lines to wait in. I got to experience it through the eyes of my characters and it was wonderful. Let’s just say, I had a craving for Italian food while writing this one.

Just because I enjoy the solitude of my home, doesn’t mean I’m antisocial. I’m with people a good bit of the time. I don’t avoid business meetings, Church, family get together’s or anything like that. I just don’t need to go out, just to go out. I’ve made my home a place where I’m completely content spending my free time. It’s beautiful and feels me with happiness to just sit and enjoy life. By the way, I do enjoy life to the fullest and don’t feel like I’mo missing out on anything, no matter what anyone says. I love my life!

So, are you an introvert? If you’re a writer, then 9 times out of 10 you are. Embrace it!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-real-reason-introverts-dread-small-talk_56854922e4b06fa688823798?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

 


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What does writing mean to you?

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What does writing mean to you? Is it just a way to pass the time, or do you consider it your job? Some writers struggle with this question. Maybe you haven’t sold anything or published anything, but when you sit down to write, is it from habit or need? Strange question, huh?

I’ve been asked these questions many times. When I was a young teenager, it was fun to write down the ideas in my head. I could sit for hours filling notebooks with stories, but it was more of a hobby to fill my time, or was it? I choose to think it was training for my future.

As I grew older, college, marriage, children, life, all of these took over, leaving my writing on the back burner, but not out of my head. Then it all came tumbling back in. At first when I started writing again, it was more of a hobby. I’d type in the words, print them, read them occasionally, but they didn’t speak to me.

Of course in 2012 it went beyond a hobby, it became a part of my life. Now I have a writing schedule, daily word count and street team. I’d say it means a lot to me. What about you?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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A Writer…Maybe…Life…Definitely

It’s Sunday morning and raining here in Georgia. At least the temperatures are warmer than freezing and we can partially thaw out. As I prepare for Church and get dinner precooked I’m thinking… always thinking. Maybe it’s a story to write, part of a work in progress or a life thought, but I’m always thinking. Guess what? Are you ready for this? You’re always thinking too…

Some people come up to me and ask how I write. Well it’s like life. I put one word in front of another and form a story. In life we live one moment at a time and in writing we do one page at a time. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but the concept is. Anyone can sit down and write something. It might not be publish worthy but they can write. Some days what I write isn’t worth anything but throwing in the trashcan.

The other day I sat reading a work in progress and it didn’t appeal to me. Unfortunately I was over 6000 words in when I decided I’d put it to the side and come back to it. Then a day or two later something happened during my travel through life and it was like a light bulb turned on. I sat down with my new iPhone app that dictates for me and I restructured the story and deleted the whole 6000 word manuscript and replaced it with the new one. Now I’m happy. Life stepped in and made the corrections.

Writer’s watch life go by and snag snippets here and there, putting them into their work. We experience life just as you do, but for some reason a writer sees things in a different light. We put a flourish on the simplest task and enhance it into something that could change someones life or maybe their way of thinking. Amazing what a day in the life of a writer holds.

I watched The Fault in the Stars last night for the first time. I’m speechless… Now reading the book is in my future. The story is full of life lessons, some hard earned. I’m not planning on giving anything away or spoiling it for you if you haven’t  seen it, but I will say this. It’s a phenomenal story and as a writer I sat in awe. This is from a fellow writers words that came from life. Amazing.

So, I’m a writer some days, some days not so much, but I live life every day and so do you. Do you put one foot in front of the other as you walk? Sure you do, but do you live life for every moment. Grasp it and hold on to it and one day you might write it down and become a writer.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Live Life; Follow Your Dreams…

Today I turn 46! Wow, it’s hard to believe I’m almost half a century old. But I don’t feel 46 and I sure don’t act it. Actually most people say I act 10 but that’s another story for another day. I live life and enjoy it immensely. We’re only give one so live it. Many people tell me I don’t get out and do things enough, but the truth is I live my life the way I love to live it, by following my dreams. No I don’t go alot of places and do a lot of things outside of my job, my writing, the Church and my family, but that’s the way I like it. Am I a hermit? No, because the definition of a hermit is someone who lives their lives in complete seclusion from the outside world. I do leave my house occasionally.

How do I follow my dreams? Well for one thing I have a phenomenal life with a great family and wonderful friends. I follow my call to serve my Lord, Jesus Christ by ministering to children, I love Accounting and get to work everyday doing just that and then there’s my writing. I followed my dream and get to write romance novels which has been my dream for more years than I want to count. Do you live your dream? If not, get to it, because we’re not promised tomorrow and today is only 24 hours.

As far as acting my age, not a chance. I don’t feel my age so why act it. If you act your age you’ll get old before you need to. I love to giggle, cry, laugh out loud, share my joy, sit in the floor with the children and sing, cartoons, children’s movies, and so many more things, not to mention extra marshmallows in my hot chocolate. Oh and sprinkles on my cookies, doughnuts, and cake, did I mention I love sweets!

Do you live life to the fullest? It doesn’t take a lot of money to live life. All you need is a dream, a desire to follow it and a supportive family. I stop and smell the roses, do you?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Writing in layers, like our lives…

As I sit and ponder writing, life and the many things we do, I see the layers of it all. Layers are all around us. We have the family layer, life layer, work layer, faith layer and so many more layers it’s crazy. As writers we have even more layers than most.

Some days my layers overlap and I have to push them apart so that I don’t get overloaded. Some layers are heavier than others but in the end they’re what makes us who we are. My writer layers come in multiples, sometimes when my writer layers overlap I get knocked to the wayside. That’s when my mind can’t stay on one story and the characters start running over one another.

Do my layers of life and writing run into one another? Yes they do. I’ve seen many days when I struggled with the writing layers, but that’s what makes a writer work harder. As the characters run around trying to get heard, I wrangle them into the stories that flow out of my fingers. The layers of a story unfold and then a new layer starts. Oh the life of a writer’s mind.

How many layers do you have? If you peel them back carefully can you find your true self. As for me, when I peeled back my writer layer I found myself. I hadn’t realized that I needed that layer peeled back. For many years I left that layer piled under so many life layers and once I revealed it I started a fresh start. My writer layer has brought me into a new world of wonder and other worlds.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Catching up with the times…

Some of you may not know this, but I’m a ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’ type person. Even when upgrades are needed or maybe new equipment, I keep purring along with what I’m currently comfortable with. I guess it goes along with my introvert ways or maybe it’s just that I’m in my own little world and happy there. Not sure, but I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and well, I kind of like it.

If you’re wondering what I’m blabbering about, well I finally upgraded to an iPhone this past week. You’re probably still tapping your head and saying ‘really’, but it’s just me. I was happy with my old phone and it was happy with me. But when I’d pull it out of my pocket or purse it would fall apart, so my hubby snatched my phone and upgraded me. It was like being separated from the womb, but I’m coping. As a very busy accountant, writer and children’s minister I was afraid of learning something new that would take time away from all of that, but it’s gone well.

After five days with the new fancy device, I’ve all but mastered ordering apps. I decided last night to grab the Instagram App. My son almost had a stroke. He was a little concerned about mama checking on him in his private world, but he got over it.

As I sat yesterday waiting on hubby to pump gas into the truck an idea for a new book came across my brain. If you’re a writer you know how critical it is to get that idea down on paper. Well, as I reached into my purse, I noticed my handy dandy notepad was not present and in a panic I looked around the truck for anything, even a napkin to write it down. Then I remembered the note app on my new phone. Smiling I quickly opened it and voila my idea was stored for future use. Now that’s a plus for the new phone. Not to mention I now have my Kindle on there too.

So, do you have areas of your life that are behind in the times?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Struggle for Writing Time!

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Do you have a hard time finding quality writing time? Do you struggle for a few minutes a day to put your thoughts and stories on paper? Does life, career and just general everyday chores get in the way? Well, if you’re a writer, it’s a real possibility that this has happened to you.

For me it’s a constant struggle. If you’re not ready to be a full time writer, then of course you have a job which takes up a lot of your weekday time. Not all of us have the luxury of writing being our full time job. That would be nice, but most writers are inevitably part time writers. But can we even go as far as calling ourselves part time writers. Let’s get real with the numbers. If you have a part time job, then it’s considered less than 30 hours a week. Most of us, me included, get less than 10 hours a week to actually sit down and write.

Oh yeah, then you have the need for quality writing time. This is time when it’s just you and your writing. There’s no outside interruptions, just you and your laptop or pad and pen, whichever is your preference. 

Do we have the obedience to make the time happen everyday? Even if you have obedience, life can take over and throw that in the trash can. Let’s be truthful, it happens, so get over it. But, does it help to set aside time. Maybe even discuss it with family and state, “This is my writing time, so don’t interrupt me for an hour or so.” *Laughing uncontrollably* Sorry, but it doesn’t happen that way. 

For me I try to schedule my writing time in the mornings after my son gets on the bus and my hubby leaves for work. It’s quiet except for the news low in the background. I also write at night as the family watches television. That way they’re into what’s on the tube while I write away. Some people ask how I concentrate with the tv in the background, well, it’s called totally immersed in my manuscript. Most of the time when I’m totally into a piece, I can get lost completely. I shut out everything in the background and it’s as if I’ve entered my characters world. If I’m having concentration issues, I just put on head phones and listen to one of my playlists. I say one of them, because it’s according to what I’m writing that decides the playlist. I have several by the way. 

So, do you struggle for writing time? How do you set your times, or does life set it for you?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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What’s in a review?

I’ve blogged about reviews before and each time I get a lot of response from fellow authors. Reviews can do a lot for an author. They can cause readers to flock to your book, run away from your book or make them unsure. I’ve been reading several posts from fellow authors regarding the trend in reviews and in some ways its not good.

As I’ve said before, if you’re thinking about reviewing a book, please read the book first. It’s so evident to an author when a reviewer hasn’t even read the book.

Let’s take a look at some of the things fellow authors have told me about some of their reviews that either made them laugh, cry or smile. Some may have caused all of these emotions.

1: I really enjoyed this book but I’m giving it a 2 star because I didn’t like the characters name. (This author was shocked when she saw this review. What’s funny is, even though it’s a 2 star review, which should be bad for the sales, the reviewer told readers it’s a good book.)

2: This book is horrible. Why did it have to be so unrealistic? People just can’t do this in real life. (Ok, this one made me laugh out loud. The book being reviewed was a Paranormal book about mythical creatures. I do give the reviewer credit, people really can’t do what the characters did in this book because they aren’t real. This author’s book sales actually escalated after this review.)

3: Why? Please stop this. I didn’t like this book at all. (This reviewer went on to email the author directly and tell her to stop writing. The author smiled as she was telling me about this review because she actually has hit the bestseller list in several countries with the very book this reviewer slammed. Her response was “It takes all kinds to make up the world”. By the way, this book is free and the reviewer did not pay for it to begin with.)

4: Great book. I can’t wait for more from this author. Waiting impatiently for next installment. (This author was thrilled with this review. It was her first book and she was afraid it wouldn’t do well.)

5: I loved the book, but could have been a little more descriptive. The writing was good and the character development was well received. (This was a constructive review that was helpful to the author. She said that actually she went back and edited a couple of areas of the book to correct these issues.)

This was just 5 of the responses I received after my last post on reviews. We rely on reviewers to be honest about their reviews of our work. The sad thing is many people out there are not very nice when they review a book. They strive to make the author look bad. What’s really sad is that a post I read a couple of months ago, several authors were slammed repeatedly on Amazon and the reviewers were not verified purchases. The wording went along the same line and did not mention anything from the book. The reviewer was slamming the author themselves. It’s sad but true.

My advice to new authors or even veteran authors that haven’t developed a thick skin is this. Use the reviews wisely. If the review is structured and they explain the flaws they see, then maybe check the flaws out. It could help. But if they’re nasty and scathing, just let them roll off your back. It’s hard, but as a published writer, you’ve opened yourself up to the public and sometimes they aren’t very nice. 

So, tell me your experiences with reviews. How do you react? Just remember, smile you’re a published author.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 

 

 


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45 years of Blessings…

Many people try to ignore birthdays. For me I’m so blessed with each year I’m given. The fact that I got up this morning is a blessing in itself. I have so much to be thankful for.

This morning I woke to my wonderful husband and son wishing me a Happy Birthday. Then when I opened my computer my email was blowing up with Birthday wishes from family, friends and fans. It’s amazing the support I’ve received from my family, friends and my adoring fans.

The Birthday wishes have been coming in from all over and it’s such a blessing. My writing has been a blessing and to be able to publish my long, hard work. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a teenager and guess what, I’m a published author. This blessing has gained me so many new friends and I’ve met some great authors that I’ve been reading for years. It’s been such an awesome time.

So many don’t realize their blessings. They leave them in a closet somewhere and refuse to acknowledge them. Blessings are meant to be acknowledged, appreciated and thankful for. But most of all they are meant to be passed on to others. It’s like the Christmas Spirit should be kept in your heart 365 days a year. Celebrate life daily and be glad for every minute in our short lives. That’s why all my books are .99 through Christmas. I want to give something back to my readers.

Have a wonderful day and know I’m passing on my blessings and well wishes for you all.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…