Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Why authors are important…

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Good Saturday morning! I want to share a little something with all of you. Not long ago I had a fan message me. She went on to tell me that my book had made her day. It helped her through a bad day, making things seem not as bad as it seemed.

Well, that message got me to thinking about the importance of authors in this world we live in. With so much uncertainty and despair, we as authors can spread a little joy. Or at least give someone a way to get lost for a while. As for my way of thinking, I consider authors important to our sanity. We have to continue writing the words that fill the imaginations of people all over the world. It only takes one book to give someone a chance to step out of reality, if only for a moment.

Romance authors have the chance to take someone to another time or place and give them a little romance to warm their heart. We can help someone realize that they are not alone in this world, but that love is all around us.

Mystery authors can add some intrigue to someone’s life. They give them a purpose, such as solving a crime or getting lost in a crime thriller.

Horror writers take us on a roller coaster ride with exhilarating chills. Fear can make the adrenaline flow in a sedentary time.

Self help writers can teach us ways to do things differently. We all need some help from time to time.

Now, there are many other genres to talk about, but for now, this will have to do. I have a deadline and maybe I’ll be able to get lost in a book for a while today.

As always, Good writing and May God Bless You…


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An apple a day…

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How many of you hasn’t heard the old saying, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’? Yep, I thought so. Here in Georgia, apples are all the rave at the moment. Tis the season I always say.

It’s the same with writing. But it would say, ‘Writing every day keeps the writer’s block away’. I do believe this is true. A couple of days lately, I’ve been so busy with other things, that I didn’t get to write. I know, that’s horrible, but true. By the time I went to bed on those days, my head was so filled with writing that I couldn’t sleep, so back to writing every day.

Do you write everyday? Even if it’s just a line or two, it helps to keep your writer brain from becoming over full. As I’ve said before, I have a schedule and if I miss a day, well, it causes a schedule jam. I’m in the middle of that jam right now. When you schedule so many words a day, then miss one, well, you get the picture.

How do you keep your writer brain happy?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You..

Just to give you a snippet of my current wip, here’s a few lines from Wine, Wedding, & The Cowboy…

Abri stood there looking at her best friend. She couldn’t do it, could she? Would she find someone in less than a month? No, she couldn’t. Taking a deep breath, she looked him straight in the eye and straightened her shoulders. “Baron, we have to get married.” There, she’d said it. Although from the look on Baron’s face, she hadn’t handled it very well.
Baron sat forward, his eyes wide with surprise. “This is so sudden. I don’t know what to say.” Then he laughed. “Have you been testing the new wine again?”
“No, I’m serious Baron.” Abri dropped into the chair across from him.
“Ok, what do you mean you’re serious?” Baron saw the look in her eyes and knew she wasn’t joking. But what on earth could have her asking him to marry her.
Abri clasped her hands together as she looked down at her lap. “My father, being the old fashioned man he is, says that I have to be married before my 25th birthday in order to inherit Tuscan Rose Farms.”
“What? When did this come about?” Baron bunched his brows together. He knew that this farm and vineyard was her heart.
“If you’d showed up for Thanksgiving dinner as you were supposed to, then you’d know.” Abri shot him a withering look.
“You know that I don’t like eating at the main house. It’s no secret that your father doesn’t care that much for me. Besides, I ate with the guys down at the mess hall. We had the best fried turkey and the dressing, well, what can I say, it was amazing.” He began to relay all of the menu, knowing that Abri was beginning to fume, but he loved it when she got angry. There was this light that came into her face. She was beautiful, but when she got angry, wow.
“Baron! I don’t need a play by play of what you ate for lunch. All I need is for you to say you’ll marry me and we’ll be good.”
“I can’t marry you. What would people say?” Baron was giving her a hard time and it paid off. The light came into her face and he was awestruck.
“You have to. I don’t have any other takers. You know yourself I haven’t dated anyone in months. And where would I find someone to marry on this short of notice. Oh, and I already told my father and cousin that we were engaged, well, that you’d asked and I had yet to answer.”
“What? Abri!” Baron stood up, running his fingers through his blond hair.
“I know! Just listen. I have a plan.”
Baron rolled his eyes. “Abri, I’ve been a part of your plans before. They never work out as you see them. This will be a disaster and both of us will be homeless when the dust settles.” He held his hands in the air, then growled in response to the thought of the disaster it would be.
“No, wait. We can have a quick wedding, with a fake minister and fake license. Once the deed is done, we can get a divorce later. If I meet someone, then we’ll have a fake divorce.” Abri shrugged her shoulders.
Baron sat back down, the air leaving his lungs in a long sigh. “Abri, do you realize what you’re asking?”
“Yes, I know it’s a huge favor, but I can’t lose my birthright because of an old fashioned man with old world ideas. Please say you’ll marry me, at least for a short time. You’re my best friend, it can’t be that big of a deal. Well, maybe it’s a big deal, but it will be fake.” Abri sat forward in the chair and smiled at him, batting her lashes.
“Abri, I need to think about this.” Baron said, running his hand over his face. He’d die a slow death if he was married to her, fake or real. She was everything to him, but if he married her, it would be the real deal. It would be for love, not for a vineyard.

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Quarantine writing…

Good Monday morning! Sorry, I’ve been MIA for the last several weeks. With all of this quarantine stuff and other things related, my accounting office has been crazy busy. We’re considered essential, but we’re not accepting foot traffic. Between stimulus questions and small business loan applications, I’ve been a little overwhelmed, but things are calming down, so I’m back, ready or not!

I’ve been reading some great posts regarding quarantine writing. Most writers, including myself, are introverts, so, we keep to ourselves most of the time anyhow. So, why is it that when we can go out, we don’t want to and when we can’t we’re being tempted at every turn.

For me, I’ve been writing every chance I get. I have managed to publish a new book, which was a miracle in itself as I’ve pushed several projects back some to accommodate the long hours needed in my accounting office. And for those that know me, they know that breaks my heart. I love my writing, but I also have a passion for my accounting. Oh, the choices we make!

So, how is your quarantine writing going? Give us some incite into how you’re doing.

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…

P.S.: Here’s a little tidbit from ‘To Dance With Dragonflies’

Kaity let out a long sigh. “This isn’t going to be my day.” Then she looked up toward the sky. “I know, I know. There’s a reason that I missed the bus and my car wouldn’t crank. So, when are you planning to let me in on this great plan you have for me?” She giggled as a man walking down the sidewalk gave her a crazy look. “And now I look like I’ve lost my mind.”

Just as she turned to start the three mile walk to work, she stumbled, loosing grip on her purse. As the contents spilled onto the sidewalk Kaity cried out, rushing to grab everything. Once she had her stuff back in the purse, she stood up, stumbling again, but a hand grasped her elbow, startling her.

“Are you alright?” The masculine voice came from the most beautiful man she had ever set eyes on.

At first, she couldn’t speak. She only managed to mutter something unintelligible as she gazed into the blue eyes that were looking at her in concern. Her mouth opened, but nothing came out. When she regained her senses, she spoke. “I’m fine, just clumsy.” Kaity frowned as he let go of her elbow.

“I saw you running for the bus, do you need a ride somewhere?” The gorgeous man asked as she continued to stare at him.

“Oh… I… well… yes. But I don’t know you.” Kaity responded.

The man stuck out his hand, “I’m Derek Mason. And yourself?”

“Oh, me?” Kaity bit her lower lip, a bought of shyness sweeping over her. “My name is Kaity, Kaity Jordan.”

“Well, Kaity Jordan, it looks like we’re no longer strangers. Now, let me drive you to where you need to go.” Derek said. He had seen her here and there since he’d moved to town. She intrigued him with her shy smile that seemed to light up a room. Then when he’d seen her running up the sidewalk, waving for the bus, he’d stopped to watch her.

Hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into the world of Kaity and Derek!


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Just when…

Good Monday morning! With tax season officially over, I’m finally getting my head wrapped around my works in progress. As deadlines loomed over my head for taxes, my writing took a hit. My brain wouldn’t focus on the words that wanted to be written. But, I’m back in the saddle and loving the feeling. I’m writing this morning with a fresh head.

As a writer, we need positive response to our writing. This weekend I received one of the most amazing reviews of Highlander’s Heart. The reviewer saw the vision behind the book and the review showed it. She saw what made this book tick for me. To say I was amazed, well, that doesn’t even begin to express my feelings. If you haven’t read the first book in the Cowen Clan series, then maybe this will encourage you to grab a copy.

Here’s the review:

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite

Highlander’s Heart is the first novel in the Cowen Clan Series by Stephanie Payne Hurt. Evina McLeod is trying to escape the clutches of the cunning Laird McKinney. Sadly, being a woman, she cannot run far away unless she has a powerful guardian to protect her. That protection appears in the form of the handsome Laird Ewan Cowen. Ewan is enamored by her beauty and he is ready to provide her with protection as long as she agrees to marry him. They weren’t expecting to fall in love with each other and they weren’t expecting to be loved in return. However, the reach of Laird McKinney is strong and long. He has a plan in place and he will not stop until he has what he wants. Ewan and Evina are just pawns in a game that he plans to win. What are these two going to do?

This was an intense story of love, acceptance, and safety. I loved the dynamic between Ewan and Evina; they were perfect for each other in the most satisfying way possible. The author has done a wonderful job creating a plot that is believable, enjoyable and perfect for readers who enjoy historical fiction. Ewan is a provider and a protector who thinks he doesn’t need love, but once Evina melts his heart, he realizes how important love is. Evina may seem vulnerable at the beginning of the story, but she blooms and develops to become a protector as well. The flow was amazing, the narrative was beautifully intricate and the plot was fast-paced enough to get you involved in the story. This is brilliant!

https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/highlanders-heart

I’ll leave it at that! Didn’t I tell you it was amazing.

Have a great Monday and May God Bless You…


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Focus

Good morning! I do hope all of you had a great 3 day weekend. As for me, we did. I was able to get some cabinets cleaned out, tossed some old stuff and organized. Ummmm, that’s not what I had planned, yeah, well…

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As writers, we often lose focus of what we need to do. For instance, this morning I had planned on getting in my word count, then working on promotions and social media. But, as it is the Monday for the week, my brain wouldn’t function. I lost focus.

So, my plan is this, to regain my focus. I need to finish my manuscripts that are hanging there, waiting for the words ‘The End’, and move forward with the planned releases coming up. But, how do I do that?

For me, the problem is social media addiction. Yes, I said it, addiction. The first thing I do when I grab my coffee is scan through, planning to just make a quick glimpse. Yeah, right! I end up reading posts, looking at more posts, commenting, etc. Then an hour later, I’m sitting here trying to power through my word count before I head to the office.

Today I plan to focus on the task at hand, well after my morning loss of focus. So, how many of you lose focus on priorities?

As always, good writing and May God bless you…

P.S. Don’t forget to focus!!!


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Women of Magnolia Hill is coming to a close…

Good morning! It’s Wednesday and we’re halfway there.

As I work on the final book of the Women of Magnolia Hill Saga, I feel drained. Why is it so hard to end a series?  Characters and places that fill our head also fill our heart. But saying goodbye, well, that isn’t easy.

This series began a long time ago with the first book, Victoria. It was filled with a spirit that engulfed me. As the series progressed, so did the years and the times. It went from Emma Rose to Lily and now in the final chapter, Georgia. But, what will be the fate of the loved Magnolia Hill? Will it still stand or will it fall from time?

Here’s a short, short snippet from Georgia:

Georgia whirled around, anger filling her eyes. “I’m not leaving my home. He wants a fight, well he’s got one. There’s one thing you don’t know about the women of Magnolia Hill. We don’t give up at any cost.”

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As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Rainy morning in Georgia…

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Good morning! Why is it so hard to get awake on a rainy morning? Could it be that it’s dark and dreary outside? Maybe… I’m thinking it will take several cups of coffee to get me moving today.

As for my day, I’ve got many appointments scheduled today, so waking up is crucial. And then there’s my word count for the day to be met, but we’ll see if it happens before I walk to the office.

So, without further procrastination, I’ll slip on my writer’s hat. Have a great day!

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from my upcoming release…

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Coffee, Books, and Romance…

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Good morning! We’re halfway to the weekend and that’s awesome. This has been a busy week so far, so I’m looking forward to diving into the weekend with some much-needed writing so I can get lost for just a little while.

As I sip my coffee, my mind is on all the things I’d like to accomplish today. Is there writing on that list? Well, I try to get in as much writing as I can each day, but some days, a few promotional posts and such are all I can fit in during tax season.  But I’m hoping to catch a few minutes of mind cleansing writing.

A fan asked me a question a few days ago and I’ve been wondering how to answer it. Her question was, ‘How do you stay focused on just writing Romance?’. Well, let’s see… For one thing, I love romance and everything about it. There’s so much you can do with romance writing. It’s my favorite genre to read also, which makes it an easier niche for me. But, think about it, in romance novels you can add elements of mystery, the paranormal, humor, history, real life, etc. The list goes on as to where you can go with romance. Actually, it’s endless.

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A romance novel can be in any era because there’s always been romance somewhere. So, to me, it makes the best writing genre in my mind. But, I love romance. If you love mystery or horror, well, that could be the best writing genre for you. My philosophy is this, write what you love, it helps keep the words flowing.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

P.S.: Here’s another look at the amazing cover of my upcoming release, ‘Beyond One Moment’. Yes, I’m a little in love with it.

Beyond One Moment Front cover


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Cover Reveal Time…

It’s those moments in an authors career that are so exciting. One of those moments is when you get to share a cover for a new book. This is one of those moments. I’ve been hiding a little secret and it’s a new series that’s in the works. But, now after a couple of months of planning and preparation, it’s time to let the cat out of the bag, so to speak.

The series is called ‘Tangled Vines Romance’, and each book will be in a different part of the world, but each will be based around a vineyard. The first book is ‘Beyond One Moment’.

I can’t give you too much about it just yet, but that’s coming soon. I can tell you that this book is going somewhere really special, but as to where, well, that’s a secret for now. I know, I know, too many secretive plots, but hey, I’m a writer, we tend to keep things in our heads until just the right moment.

So, without further babbling from me, I give you, ‘Beyond One Moment’.

Beyond One Moment Front cover

Didn’t I tell you it was special? I’m in love with this cover, but the story behind the cover, well, you’ll fall in love with it. It’s one of those stories that gets under your skin and carries you away.

As always, good writing and may God Bless You…

 


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Throwback Thursday…Ghost Lover

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Ghost Lover was the first book I published officially. It’s my baby of sorts… So here’s a chapter from Ghost Lover…

Chapter 16

She walked into the stables and leaned on a post just inside the doors. She sniffed the air for a hint of the scent she’d smelt earlier. It wasn’t long before the scent went by her nose. She stood very still and let the wind direction lead her nose. She could tell it was coming from the back of the stable around the door that led to the back field.

Her eyes had gotten accustomed to the darkness. She searched the shadows for any sign of movement. She was holding her breath. What could it be? Suddenly there was slow movement in one corner. She put her hand up to her mouth. Her feet were rooted to the floor. Was she in danger? But she felt perfectly safe.

A shape formed out of the shadows. It was a man in a cowboy hat. She couldn’t see his face only the dark shape. Was this an illusion or ghost? She was drawn to the shadow by some unknown feeling.

“Who are you and why are you here? Do I know you?”

“You know me, but he won’t let you remember me.” The voice was low and haunting.

“Should I be afraid of you?” She suddenly realized that she should be afraid, but she couldn’t move.

“I’d never harm you.” He slowly moved closer but still in the shadows.

“Why’re you here in the shadows? Why don’t you come into the moonlight so that I can see you?” She noticed he lowered his head and then looked back at her.

“I don’t want you to see me this way. I want you to remember me before you look at my face.” The sadness in his voice did something inside her heart.

“What’s wrong? Have you been injured in some way?” Her heart went out to him.

“Yes, I was burned in an accident. I want you to remember what we had before you see me.”

“What was our relationship?” Her heart was racing. She thought it would come out of her chest it was beating so hard.

“You’ll remember it. I don’t want to rush your memories. When you remember, you’ll know me.” Why did she want to reach out to this person so much?

“Were we friends?” Could this be the man in her dreams that she couldn’t see his face? Had he been scarred when she knew him before her accident?

“Yes, we’re very close. I know you have me locked in your memory and it’ll come out.” He reached his hand out of the shadows and stroked her face. His touch set off an electrical charge through her veins.

“Are you a ghost?” He laughed softly and the sound set her mind reeling.

“What do you think?” She tried to see him through the shadows, but couldn’t see his face.

“I think you’re the man that has haunted my dreams since I lost my memory.” Her voice was little more than a whisper as she spoke.

“How do you feel about me in your dreams?” He was slowly moving closer.

“I feel confused because I can’t see your face and remember who you are?” She reached her hand up to try to touch his face, but he gently grabbed her hand and put it to his heart. She could feel it beating wildly.

“Can you feel my heart beating? You’re what keeps my heart beating.” His voice was rough with emotion.

He looked up suddenly and pulled her into the shadows. She gasped, not out of fear, but surprise.

“Someone’s coming, but I need you to promise me that you’ll keep Thomas at arm’s length. He’s a danger to you.”

“What kind of danger? He said he’s my husband.” She could hear the footsteps getting closer.

“Just trust me; he’s not your husband.” He put his hands on both sides of her face and kissed her so gently that she almost lost her footing. “Don’t tell him about me. I’ll be here waiting for you tomorrow night at midnight.” He slowly went back into the shadows. She could hardly catch her breath.

“Jess, are you in here?” She could hear Thomas calling her, but her brain wouldn’t let her speak. He grabbed her arm and turned her toward him.

“What are you doing down here at night, alone? Have you lost leave of your senses?” She could tell he was angry and worried.

“I couldn’t sleep, so I came down here to check on Ghost Lover. I’m fine; no harm’s come to me.” Her eyes kept going to the shadows. Had she just kissed a man or a ghost? Was she losing it?

“Well, let’s go back to the house. You don’t need to be roaming around by yourself at night when nobody knows where you’re at, especially in your condition.”

They walk back to the house. Her mind completely lost in thought. All she could think about was what she’d experienced. Was he real or her imagination?

When they got inside and were on the way upstairs Thomas stopped her. “What were you thinking? It’s almost one in the morning. What if you’d fallen or someone had grabbed you?”

“I was completely safe. I doubt very seriously anyone would’ve been in the stables at midnight and I didn’t fall. I needed some air.” She started back up the stairs. Remembering what she’d heard the man or whatever he was, say about Thomas.

He followed her into the bedroom. She climbed into the bed and watched him come around the other side. “What are you doing?”

He looked up and smiled, “Well, we are married and this is where I usually sleep, beside my wife.” He grinned and got into bed beside her. He planned on acting like a real husband soon. He could only hold himself away for so long, especially when her warm body was lying beside him at night. He was hoping to sweep her off her feet.

He leaned over her and she pushed him away. “Have you lost your mind? I still don’t remember being married to you and I can’t have that kind of relationship with you until I do remember.” She jumped out of the bed and grabbed her pillow. “I’m going down the hall to one of the other rooms. Goodnight.”

He just laid back and smiled. She’d be putty in his hands before long. He just knew he was getting through to her.

She had a very restless night. She dreamed of a beautiful cabin. She could see herself walking toward a stable door. She was looking for someone, but whom? She was almost to the door when the stables exploded. She woke up screaming and sweating profusely. Thomas came through the door running and pulled her into his arms. “Not another nightmare. You should’ve stayed with me. Come on back to our room.”

“No, I’ll be fine.” She couldn’t even stand to be near him all of a sudden. Why’d she feel this way about her own husband or was he? Could the man in her dream be right?”

“Okay, but I’ll be right down the hall if you need me.” He walked out and left the door open.

She finally was able to fall asleep, but her dreams were restless. She had to make sure that she was in the stables at midnight. She had to know if he was real or part of her imagination, but he felt too real. Her heart was pounding hard just thinking about him. Why’d she react to a man she didn’t know? Why’d he warn her about Thomas?

As I said, this was my first book I published. My writing style has changed so much since I published this one. But my heart is still with romance.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Thursday and keep on writing!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…