Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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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…


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Walking and Talking at same time…Bad Idea :)

Well, if you follow this blog you realize from my picture that I’m blonde. The problem with being blonde is the ever coming jokes and I always get “Can you walk, talk and chew gum at the same time?” I always laugh and say, “Yep, but don’t get near me because you’ll get run over.”

Found out yesterday how true this statement is. I was doing my 5 mile walk that I do 3 days a week. As we were walking up the road, a car started to pass us and I stepped off the pavement. Well, more accurately I fell off the pavement. I now have the strained ankle and bruised knee to prove it. I was walk, talking and not paying attention to where I was stepping. Not a good thing. Good thing I have a complete physical planned for in the morning. Please pray that goes well. Not looking forward to it, but it’s a necessity.

As for writing, you have to be able to do several things at one time. Multi tasking is a must as a writer, especially if you hold down a full time job and family. Usually my writing is completed while getting up and down to do laundry, cooking dinner, and just life in general.

I’ve learned a lot about time and how to fit in everything somehow. Of course then you have your blog posting, in my case 2 blogs, Facebook, Twitter and the myriad of other author promotional posts I do on a daily basis. Someone came up to me one day and said, wow, if you become a full time writer, you’ll be set. Well, I’ll be set in some ways, but their meaning was I’d have a lot of free time. I don’t think that’s possible. A writer’s mind is like a spinning wheel. The ideas and characters are constantly spinning around, so if I did this full time, I figure I’d sit writing most of the time. 

Life’s short, live every moment and enjoy the little things. That’s my advice for the day. Oh, and don’t walk and talk at the same time. You’ll feel the results the next day, believe me. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 

 


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Revisiting old post – “Something as Simple as Watering Flowers!”

This was a post from last August that brought about a lot of discussion. I recently sent it to another blog for a blast from the past and it stirred a need to repost.

Have you ever thought about the comparison of watering flowers and life? If you don’t water the flowers, they will die

without any rain. Life is that way. We have to constantly add something in our life to entertain ourselves. We have to have food and water to live.

Just as our writing, if you don’t keep watering your audience, eventually, unless you grow really famous, your audience goes down and you die. You have to water by blogging daily, adding yourself to every site imaginable, and tweeting til your fingers ache.

I was watering the above flowers last night and thought about that. Even with my faith which I take very seriously, I have to keep read up and prayed up. If you don’t stay focused you lose some momentum.

As I tell my son all the time regarding his dogs, if you don’t feed them they will starve to death. He always comes back with they will find something to eat mom! (Kids you gotta love um!).