Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Tuesday Tax Talk…

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Good afternoon! It’s that time of year to get your tax papers organized and ready for tax time. Yes, I know, it’s a hassle if you’re not organized. Even organized people struggle with this time of year. Do I have this form? Did I make that donation before the end of the year? When did I buy my laptop for writing?

As an accountant, I understand the struggle. But, just take it one day at a time. Sit down with your check register and scan it. Make sure you grab all of your expenses for your writing business or the business that you’re in. Also this is a good way to find donations you made during the year.

Here’s a list for writers to use for expenses and other business can use it too…

  1. Writing programs – Microsoft office, Scrivener, Adobe, etc…
  2. Writer Group Subscriptions – Romance Writers of America, All Author, Bigstock, Etc…
  3. Writing Supplies – Pencils, Pens, Notebooks, Copy paper, ink, journals, etc…
  4. Equipment – Laptop, Computer, printer, etc…
  5. Advertising – Any advertising you’ve paid for…

The list goes on from here, but this gives you a good idea of where to start. And believe me, once you get into this, you’ll find more.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Tuesday Writing hints…

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Hello! Glad you made it to Tuesday. So, let’s discuss character bios. Yes, we’ve discussed those before, but it needs to be brought back up. Recently I read a post from a fellow writer that said they were writing a series and were constantly flipping back and forth. That’s time consuming and eats up your writing time.

Here’s my suggestion, take it or leave it. And it helps me!

  • Grab a notebook, binder, or make a file on your computer. If you use Scrivener, you’re already there!
  • As you start a new series or book, write down every characteristic of each character and place that comes up. It’s important to know if they have blonde hair and blue eyes. Also, birthdays are essential in case you need to throw a birthday party. If a character gets a scar, make note of it.
  • Add marriages, births and deaths to this also. Nothing is worse than getting to book three and not remembering if Mary is married to Burt or Ernie. Believe me, this is time consuming as well as frustrating to the reader if Mary marries Burt, but keeps kissing Ernie.

It’s worth the time and effort, believe me. Getting called out on a mistake that you could have avoided isn’t fun.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Gifts for Writers…

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Good Tuesday morning! Are you doing the same as me, struggling to figure out what to get those loved ones that are hard to buy for. Well, if you have a writer on your list, then here are my top 5 suggestions that are a little out of the norm, but for a writer, are perfect…

  1. Give them a writing program. What am I talking about? Google writing programs. My favorite is Scrivener. But there are several out there and most are reasonable when you’re thinking about a gift.
  2. Give them a subscription to a creative website. There are so many that it’s impossible to name them all, but some that I use are Bookbrush.com, AllAuthor.com, etc.
  3. Also, a great gift for a writer is laptop if you’re looking to spend a little more. Make sure that it’s set up for graphics and writing applications.
  4. And don’t forget about journals, planners, pens, pencils, cute notebooks, writing desk, laptop bag, decorative note cards, wow, I could go on and on. Do you see a trend here? Every writer loves something to write on.
  5. Last but not least. Most writers have a love for coffee or tea. So think out of the box. Put together a basket of mugs with tea bags, coffee pods, warm throws and chocolates. Writers spend a lot of time in their own world and they need to be caffeinated and cozy.

So, I hope some of these helped you and made things a little easier. Of course, some of the above items might be good for college students, someone needing a little push into being creative and also, creative people.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You!

PS: Don’t forget to gift friends books from authors. You can send ebooks through most ebook platforms.


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Outlines, Notebooks & other such things…

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It’s Saturday morning and I’m ready for a little rest and restoration. Of course, you know I’ll be writing, it’s my Saturday thing to do. When you run a busy accounting office, most of your intense writing comes on your days off.

Take notes... You'll need them later...

Now with intense writing sessions, you have to use your time wisely. This is where detailed notes and outlines come in handy. When I sit down to write, I like to have everything at my fingertips. If I’m writing a book, say, for instance, Breakwater Lane, I want to have my character information close at hand. Why? Well, it helps me to just look at the character list beside me. If I forget a secondary characters name, I just glance at the list and keep going. But without this list, well, I’d have to go back to where I last wrote about them to check. That takes away valuable writing time.

Outlines are helpful…

I’m an outliner, most of the time. When a story comes into my head, I like to sit down and outline it while it’s fresh. If the story comes in bits and pieces as some do, then I just write down the basics of what has come to my head. As with Sky Ridge Series, I have in my head what each of the three books will be covering, but without the outline, I’d overtake the story from the next book. I want to make sure that each book covers its own situation.

Don’t let a lack of organization throw you off track…

Some people say that outlines mess them up and that’s ok. Everyone has their own style. It’s the way we’re made. But for me, outlines keep me focused on the story at hand. You might ask if I’ve ever changed a story from the outline? Yes, several times. Take, for instance, Finding the Right Time. I had it completely outlined, but my characters would not behave and they went off script. If you’re not a writer, that might sound a little off, but it’s true. Characters can have a mind of their own and they go off down the rabbit hole, leaving the outline in the dust. That’s when you pick up the outline, dust it off, then adjust as needed. It works, believe me.

Notebooks… Notebooks… Notebooks…

Now, I have notebooks for each of my series. I keep details about characters that are in each book. That way I keep up with who died, who left to never be heard of again and such as that. On my stand-alone’s, I don’t always have a dedicated notebook, just an outline with notes in the margins. I put the characters at the top, then the outline. But the notes in the margins can be added characters, character flaws or just location descriptions. Anything you think will be needed later, add it.

It only takes a second to lose that train of thought…

So, to sum up, my rambling from above, if you feel disoriented or unorganized when writing, it’s normal. But there are ways to make it easier on yourself. These are just a couple of the things I do.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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Series Writing…What I learned…

 

img_2612Good morning! I hope you’re having a blessed day. Me, I’m in mama mode, or as my son calls it, flood mode. By that I mean, our son graduates from high school tomorrow night and every time I think about it, I cry. I’m so proud of him and happy for him, but as a mama, well, I get a bit nervous and anxious, knowing he’s about to embark on a new chapter in his life. It’s hard to let go, but we do have to let them spread their wings. Ok, enough of thought, salty tears in my coffee isn’t very good.

Series… Have you written one yet? If you have, then you know the struggles. The first one goes pretty well as writing goes, but when you start on the second, if it’s a continuing series, well, the problems start. Do you remember this about a character? Do you remember the neighbor’s name that will be appearing some in the other books? What did you name the dog? Wow, yeah, that’s where the fun really begins…

Here’s what I learned, the hard way and hopefully it will help guide some of you into writing series without the struggle… I’ve attached a picture of the front of one of my series notebooks for the Sky Ridge Series.

When I first started writing, I decided to do a series where a couple of the books were connected. The problems didn’t start until the second book. I was constantly looking back to see about facts and such. It was horrible. I had so much to write but between the looking back and double checking facts, it took longer to write the next couple books.

So, when I started the Women of Magnolia Hill Saga, I began a journal on the series. I kept a timeline, character sketches, and places. Since this is a historical romance series and I tried to stay in line with history, somewhat, I printed out a timeline of the time period and marked where each book started and ended. This helped some with details.

Then the fun really begins. I had to keep up with who the oldest sibling and youngest sibling were. Also, in this series, it spans many, many years, so, sadly some of the main characters from the earlier books die. I had to keep up with their age when they died and how. That way when a character looks back, it’s factual, not pulled from my brain which doesn’t remember a lot these days.

The character and place parts are very critical. If your character has a child, well, you can’t just go on with the story and not include the child. That child will eventually grow up and surely he or she isn’t kept in a dark closet until future episodes. So, detail is very important.

In the Magnolia Saga, there is a magnolia tree in the front yard where every member gets married. I have to remember where it is. In my mind and my notebook, I have a sketch of the property. It helps.

With my newest series, I have a composition book for each series and I include the outline, characters and where they all cross paths. Since the Wishful Harbor series is all around the same time period, I have to make sure to keep up with the comings and goings of everyone, even the mailman. LOL!

I’ve sketched the town of Wishful Harbor and plan to have the sketch at the front of each of the five books in the series. That gives the reader a sense of knowing the town and lets their mind live in that town. I’m so excited about this series because it intertwines together to make a beautiful story about a sweet town. But, it couldn’t happen without my notebook of facts.

So, how do you keep your series straight? Does this help you to possibly tackle a series in the future? I hope it does. But remember, I’m always here if you have a question.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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Forgotten Work!

Well as you noticed in yesterdays post I’ve been cleaning my office, which is a rather large job. As I was cleaning out some file boxes I ran up on an rather large notebook. When I opened it I found a spiral bound notebook inside. I pulled it out and was going to put it in the office supply pile, which was growing rapidly. I have a bad habit of losing office supplies only to be found later when I open a clients file and there it is. I drive my assistant crazy 🙂

On with what I found. I decided to open the notebook to make sure it had paper left in it. Well to my surprise I had started a story inside this hidden notebook. For a moment I just stared at it wondering when I’d started this hidden story. Since I was in a cleaning mode I put it to the side to check out later. My eyes kept straying to the notebook on the corner of my desk.

I carried the notebook in my house and opened it like a child opening a Christmas present. I was so excited because truly I did not remember this story. As I read the first couple of paragraphs I was taken back about five years. This was a story that came to me suddenly in a dream. Of course I was so excited when I finished reading. It was actually about twenty pages of writing. The story started to come into focus and well as any writer would do I started getting excited.

It’s funny how these things happen. I know what you’re thinking and yes I will be finishing my works in progress. I had strength and put the notebook beside my chair. I know this story has a ending in my mind, but I’ve promised my wonderful fans that I will be finishing the 2nd books in three of my series. I do have deadlines to follow, but boy this story has taken a toll of my brain.

So I will reveal a bit of it really soon, but for now I’ll finish up my works in progress. But who knows, maybe I can multi task. No, promise I’ll be a good little writer and finish what I’ve started 😉

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…