Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Happy 5th Birthday to Ghost Lover!

It’s hard to believe that the very first book I published is five years old today! On May 12, 2012, I took a leap of faith and I’ve never looked back. It was the hardest step I think I’ve taken in my life.

I remember the first time I worked on this manuscript which was eighteen years ago. I had a new baby, accounting business, house, hubby, and life going on all around me, but I needed an out. I’d worked on writing since I was a teenager, but this story pulled at me, even that long ago. I wrote at least two thirds of it, then put it in a file as my son got older and my business grew. All of a sudden, I didn’t have the time to work on it. Then my assistant (Now my editor and one of my cover designers) pulled the file from the back of my desk drawer and fell in love with the story.

Within a week, Ghost Lover had cover. LOL! Let’s look at that first cover:

book cover

Needless to say, that cover didn’t last long. As I went through and searched, I knew this cover was lacking, really lacking. I have to laugh as I look at it, but hey, I was a newbie. Of course, my assistant quickly threw this one out and designed the first awesome cover of my writing career. Here’s what she came up with and I’ve received several great reviews on this cover, even from the cover model that sent me a message. He told me he was the one on my cover, which thrilled me. So, here’s the 2nd cover for Ghost Lover:

Ghost Lover Final

This is one of my favorite covers. And it was my first real attempt at making something out of my writing and taking it seriously. This book took me to the bestsellers list within six months, which really excited me. But, as my writing advanced and I learned more about the world of grammar and writing, I knew that my baby needed a makeover, so in amongst all of my works in progress, I began the process of overhauling my work.

The newest edition of Ghost Lover has astounded me in it’s depth of love, romance, suspense and other emotions that I can’t exactly explain. Here’s the newest cover, which I’m totally in love with.

Ghost Lover 2 full cover

So, as you can tell, Ghost Lover has been through many changes over the last five years, but the heart of the story has never changed. When true love is there, nothing can tear you apart.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 

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Reading in bed…

Literature Onboard

It’s finally Friday folks! I can tell you this, thank goodness it’s Friday, but of course, I’ll be working all weekend. At least, it’s a more laid back work situation on the weekend.

How many of you grew up reading in bed? For me, when I was younger, I’d sit in bed and read every night. After my parents told me to turn out the light, I’d pull the covers over my head, with my trusty flashlight, then continue the story that had me spellbound.

I read many different genres back then. Some weeks I’d be hooked on suspense-filled mysteries. Yes, I was a Hardy Boy and Nancy Drew kind of girl. I’d devour them with such a thirst that soon I would be rereading until I could get to the store. It wasn’t like today, I couldn’t just scan and buy on Kindle.

Of course, as I grew older, my nightly reading turned to paranormal, fantasy type books. I’d read books about witches and ghosts. Then I moved to romance, which changed my young life. I would get lost in the romance of the story, the faraway places that the book took me to, it was great.

Everyone gave me books for Christmas, Birthdays, every occasion. I carried a book with me all the time, reading at lunch during school, on the bus, just about everywhere I could. I still have many of the books from my teen years, especially the ones that pulled me in. But they’re yellowing, packed in boxes, ready to be visited again. Often I pull out some of my favorites and read them again, enjoying the thrill of the story and remembering the first time I read it. My collection of Harlequin romances is extensive to say the least.

I still read at night, usually sitting in a warm bath, trying to lose myself for a little while. Some nights when I can’t sleep, I’ll go to the den and curl up in a blanket, then get lost in another story.

The cool thing about my love for books, it fueled the fire to write. I’ve penned books since I was a young teenager and all of this came from reading in my bed at night, usually with a flashlight as the rest of the house slept. Who needed sleep when the heroine was falling in love with the knight in shining armor and needed rescuing?

So, did you read in bed, or maybe you still do…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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What if the words stop…

I’ve been asked many times where the words I write come from. Most people come up to me and just simply ask, ‘What if the words stop coming?’ For a writer that would be horrible, a nightmare come true. But the funny thing about a writer’s brain, it runs on overdrive most of the time. Sometimes we might have a hiccup in the process, but the words flow continuously.

Some have asked how I work on so many books at one time. How do I keep focused enough on each one to make the individual stories work? **Smiling broadly** Well it comes from too many stories going through that if I don’t get them on paper as they go through I’m afraid my brain will explode. If an idea comes through for a new story, well it has to be written out. I love to sit with a pad and pencil and just let the words flow through me. It’s exhilerating, but sometimes when you have a deadline working you have to push the others to the side. Of course that story still nags at you constantly.

But then I wonder if one day the words might stop. Of course for me they’ve been coming at me since I was a teenager and that’s been a long time. No, I’m not saying how long, but it’s been a while. If one day I develop some sort of problem where the words stop I don’t know what will happen. It’s been such a big part of me to put a story together in my mind that I think I might stumble some.

Then again I get a lot of my inspiration from music lyrics, people watching and life, so I guess in my mind, I’ll always have a story coming through. But if the music stops, the people disappear and I stop living, then the story would probably stop. Life has added so many stories in my head that I don’t think I’ll ever run out of material. I’ve experienced life through so many eyes and lives that I always have a new spin on a topic that I’ve touched on before.

What if the words stop… Let’s just say I hope they never do. I’ve come to love my characters that flow in and out of my head. They’re a part of who I am and that may sound crazy, but if you’re a writer you know where I’m coming from. After you spend hours with a character and their life, well it’s as if they’re your best friend. A couple of my books touched me so much that I was an emotional wreck during the process, but the words flowed even as the tears and the memories that spurred the story on came crashing through. Some memories never stop flowing through and they conjure up many stories that fill the books I write.

So, have you ever wondered what would happen to you if the words stopped? Scary thought…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Lightning Bugs and Mason Jars

How many remember this childhood activity? I remember how exciting it was the first summer night every year when the little flashes of light would start. Your heart would race and then you’d run inside to get a mason jar and lid. Of course you made sure to poke holes in the top. Then you’d run outside and chase the bugs until your parents called you in.

Back then we didn’t think about dangers like snakes underfoot in the dark or running into a tree in the dark. It was just pure country fun. I always remember fondly those times. The air would be cooler after the warm days. The grass would be cool under our bare feet as my brother and I would run all over the yard chase that yellow flashing gold. Once they were caught we’d thrust them into the jar and quickly close the lid so they didn’t escape. Our parents would call us in to wash off the lightning bug stink from our hands and place our jars that glowed with the beautiful bugs on our nightstands for nightlights.

Summer holds so many memories for me. My grandfather had a huge garden that the family worked together. I remember running through the corn stalks that looked like they reached the sky. Then collapsing in the freshly tilled dirt and running our fingers through the warm rich soil. Yes, I stayed dirty as a child in the summer. We were country children and dirt was just part of the fun. When the corn was pulled we’d help with the canning. There’s nothing like the smell of fresh corn being cut from the cob on a cool summer morning.

It’s crazy the scents that bring back those memories. If I smell rain in the air it reminds me of watching the rain fall on the freshly tilled ground. I remember my granddaddy hoping for lightning to add nitrogen to the soil. I always thought that was crazy because I never liked lightning. He’d point out that it was important to the soil, but still it eluded me.

Then there’s the traumatic parts of farming. My grandfather decided to raise rabbits. My brother and I thought this was so cool. We each got one of our own to name and help feed. We wondered why he kept telling us not to make them pets. Well, soon we found out why, yep, they were made into stew. That was traumatic for a young child, but he did warn us. He believed in living off the land and that’s what he did.

I attribute my love of tomatos to my grandfather’s farm. I’d wait for the cherry tomatoes to mature and then sneak out to the plants and clean the plant of it’s ripe red heaven. My grandfather would get so angry with me, but then he’d smile and ask if they were sweet enough. 

Do you have warm childhood memories? I’d love to hear about them. If you do, make sure your children have a chance for the same memories. I taught my son about lightning bugs and he loves to garden. He actually planted our garden for the last couple of years. Oh yeah, I always plant cherry tomatoes and I’m constantly walking out and picking them while they’re still warm from the sun. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Well it’s here – Ghost Lover is officially 1!

ImageCan you believe it? I can’t. My first published novel, “Ghost Lover” is one today. It’s hard to fathom that I’ve been publishing books for a solid year. It’s been a fantastic ride.

Ghost Lover was in the works for a long time before it was published. I used snippets from my past and creativity from my brain (that’s scary). It was a work of love and excitement. When I finished this book I was satisfied, but the satisfaction came when the first book sold and the first great review came through. 

Through my publishing I’ve met some really extraordinary people from all over the world. I can’t tell you how much fun it’s been blogging, tweeting and emailing with all of you. Some of you have become great friends and I’ll treasure those friendships for a lifetime. 

My writing has taken me to many corners of the earth and that was without leaving my little corner in Georgia. I’ve had friends ask me if I’m fulfilled with my writing and I can honestly say, YES!!! 

I had a former male companion ask me one day if I used anything from our relationship in the books. I just smiled and winked telling him I’d never tell my secrets. If he’d read the books he’d know he never showed up. I’m sure the person or people who inspired some of the characters will recognize themselves if they read it.

As for the cowboy on the front cover, no I don’t know him as some have speculated. He’s from a purchased photo at BigStock. My husband often asks about the inspiration for some of the parts of the books and then he waves both hands frantically and says “Don’t tell me and I’ll be none the wiser.” By the way he’s never read one of my books. He says he’s too afraid he’ll see himself. I assured him that most of my writing is purely fiction with only some parts from my past. Since he knows the ghosts from my past he would recognize easily where they are and who or what inspired them. I try to keep the mystery alive.

As for Ghost Lover, it’s been reborn and revised. Don’t worry, I didn’t change the story, but I did do some editing. Throughout the last year of writing and publishing I’ve listened to my readers and changed some of my styles. When I read the book again for the revision I sat with a tissue box and enjoyed every minute. It brought back the ghosts that haunt me and why I wrote this book. 

It’s available as of this morning on Amazon & Smashwords. It’ll be available on Allromanceebooks.com and Barnes & Noble in the next week. Also on Kobo, SOny, Apple and Diesel. So go check it out and let me know what you think. I’d really love to hear some feedback.

As always, Good writing and may God bless you…

P.S. Thanks for everything great friends…

 


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Does your writing affect you?

It’s a real question. Does your writing affect you? What I mean is does your writing give you food for thought? Saturday was a very rainy day in Georgia, so I spent a good bit of time working on one of my latest books in progress. As I was writing I realized that I actually had tears streaming down my face. 

It was then that I realized that my writing affects me. I have to admit it was a very emotional part of the manuscript. Some people would say, ‘why do you get affected so by your work?’ Well, as you know if you’ve followed my blog, I’m an emotional person. I have a soft heart and when I work on a sad part I cry, a happy part I smile and a infuriating part I scowl.

My son sits and watches me sometimes. He always laughs when he sees the tears. It’s a constant addition to his daily entertainment for him to see his mama get emotional over a book or movie or song for that matter. He always says, ‘Mama, you’re not really crying over that are you?’

Oh, well. I feel like if it affects me so much, maybe it will affect the reader as well. In some of the reviews of my books, fans have said as much. They’ve even talked about getting a box of tissues ready. I guess being an emotional person brings about a lot of emotional parts to my books.

One more thought on this is that romance brings about emotion in a lot of people. Maybe it’s bringing up a memory that’s been hidden in your heart, or maybe it’s just touching. Whatever the reason, just let the tears flow. Bring out the heart of the work you do. That’s what makes it your own.

God made us all different and some of us were made with a soft heart. If we cry as we work, then we’re giving it all we have. 

As always good writing, and may God Bless You…


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Ghosts from the past…

I’ve often been asked where on earth do I get the ideas for my books. Someone even said that I must have led a really exciting life. I only laugh and say that most of my work is from my brain not my memories.

I have included some past memories into the writing of my books, but I’ll never tell which ones. Why is it that when you’re a writer, people automatically think you only write about your life experiences?

My own mom actually was afraid to read the first book I published because she thought she might recognize herself in the book. I reassured her that she was safe. Now she’s one of my biggest fans. I do have to admit to using friends and family members as role models for some of my characters. 

One thing I can say is that writing has helped with getting rid of my ghosts from my past. Especially my dream of owning horses and having a horse farm. Well, what can I say, I’m a country girl. As a writer I can live my dreams and go to places I only dream of going. It’s a pretty cool thing being a writer.

As always, Good writing and May God Bless You…