Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Series or finish in one?

When you’re writing the book and the story just keeps going and going, so you finish the story or do you make it into a series? Series can be a continuation of the same storyline with the same characters, they can be a continuation of characters that in the first book were in the background, or it can be just a continuation of the same type of story but entirely different story. What will it be?

For me a couple of my books have stood alone completely. I knew and felt good with ending them at the words The End. But some of my stories needed more. Some were supposed to be stand alone but the characters just pulled at me to be more. In my latest book, Open The Heart, I originally planned on it being alone. As I delved into the story around 3/4 of the way in I knew it had more to tell. You may be saying why not just go ahead and make it a mega novel with 50,000 or more words, but in some instances it’s good to just end on a cliff hanger, leaving the reader wanting more. 

In Victoria I knew at the start that it would be a Saga. I knew as I was writing the first chapter how it would end and I built it up to that major cliff hanger which of course has garnered lots of readers writing to me stating that they were hanging on pins and needles. I just smile and know I did the right thing. It’s had several asking when the next book could be expected. What’s funny is they always ask what happens? I can’t tell you until the next book comes out is always my response.

So, what will you next book be? It’s sometimes a hard question. Does your story line have the stamina to carry on for several books? Does your general premise for the book have series quality? Well, let me know how you figure it out.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Life: You’re the Author

In life we write our own stories. We determine how our life goes. God created us, but he gave us life choices. How do we choose? Which road do we go down? Is grass and dirt starting to take over your road?

In life we make the decisions that take us to the next part. Decisions we make mark the future for us. If you decide to drink and drive you’re deciding your life book could end on the drive home. If you decide not to take the job offer and then find out there’s nothing else available, then you made that decision to stay unemployed. (Sometimes that’s the best road to take.)

As an author I’ve thought about the life I’m writing for myself. Do I want to get to the end of my life and look back only to wonder what I accomplished? No, I believe in taking the bull by the horns and stepping out on faith. It’s just like a review on a book. Do you give your life a 5 star rating or does it fall flat at 1 or less?

Think of your life as a book you’re going to sell. Would you want to read about your life? Have you done anything remotely special? We all have moments in our life that are spectacular. Those moments can include marriage, the birth of your child, and vacations. But what about the in between moments. 

My challenge to you is to live life. Experience the moment. Don’t let life come to a close without enjoying what God has given you. Go ahead, write the great american novel, or try to. At least you can say I tried. Don’t come to the end and say I wish I would have…

As always good writing and May God bless you in all you decide to do in life. Remember to keep Him in your life and all will go well. 🙂


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Losing a character…

I wonder sometimes why I write when I’m tired. I sit and stare at the screen and totally draw a blank. Sometimes I’m sitting in my accounting office and get the urge to write a paragraph or two but have no time. I quickly jot down the idea and go back to work.

Have you ever forgot your main characters name? Did you wonder why? While working on my latest manuscript I noticed something wrong when I started editing. I had to laugh because it was so ridiculous. Or was it? I had a child named Chance, which was to be after the father, but somewhere in the middle I started typing Chase and it stuck. Boy that was a fun edit. I could have did a find all entries for Chase and replace, but I learned a really hard lesson about hitting that replace all button. 😦

I have started putting a legal pad beside me when I write. As I introduce new characters I write down a short bio on that character and keep it beside me. That way I don’t spend half my precious writing time looking back for a characters name, hair color, or age.

My editor laughed while reading one of my manuscripts. She said ‘I thought your main character had blonde hair’. She smiled and made a note to change that entry. I just groaned and watched her grin. She knows me well. 

I have a horror of missing one of these details in my final read through. What if I publish a piece with a critical character flaw? Oh well, I guess that’s why I have an editor to look after me. I definitely need it. 🙂 If you’ve encountered this problem, try the legal pad bio system. So far it’s worked for me. ◊

As always, good writing and May God Bless.


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Writing the right ending…

What do you do when you get down to the last chapters? At this point you need to building up for the end, but how?

As I work on the ending of my newest book, I ponder this question. Just as my last novel, “The Winner Is Love” I wonder, is this the end? Well with that one it wasn’t. I didn’t know it when I started writing it. I had plan a simple, sweet Christmas romance that would end at the words The End. But guess what, as with any writer I had to listen to my characters and my heart told me their story is not done.

My newest book is the 2nd book in a series and I don’t know whether I want it to continue. But if I don’t continue it, how do I end it? Do the lovers ride off in the sunset never to be heard from again? Do I kill them off in a lovers quarrel? What am I saying? I can’t kill them off, that would be murder.

The ending of a book can be as important, or even more important than the beginning. I’ve read books before that the ending left me baffled. Some have left me angry and others ready for more. If you are planning a next book, you have to leave the reader wanting more. You have to give just enough information to keep them hooked for the next book. If you’re ending it there, you need to make the ending mean something. If you end the book wrong, will the reader want to read anything else from you.

I have to admit that I’ve read some books that the ending made me so upset that I didn’t have the heart to read the authors list of other books written. I just couldn’t do that to myself. You know how it is when you’re watching a movie and the main character that you’ve fell in love with dies in the last scene and bam, that’s it. Finished, the end, done! Makes you want to throw something at the TV. Books can make you want to throw your Kindle.

What do you like in an ending? Do you like the explosive ending, where you are just floored? Do you like the sweet, tender ending where you just melt and have to sit quietly for a moment and reflect? (Maybe that’s just me 😉 ) Or do you like the nail biter ending where you get left hanging on the edge of the cliff? Let me know your thoughts. I love to hear what everyone thinks.

 

As always, good writing and May God Bless you!end


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When Love is Rekindled…

Have you ever had a love in your life that you gave up? Did you always wonder what would have happened if you would have given that love a chance? What if there was more to the story? What if you had a good reason to step away from that love? Well, your heart will never be the same….

Check out an excerpt from the 2nd book in the “Flames of Love” Series, my current writing project, “Rekindled Flames”, it may have you thinking about that love that you gave up.

“As we lay our dear friend to rest, let’s reflect on his life for a moment.” As Lydia listened to the pastor start on her father’s great life, she lowered her head. It was hard to believe he was actually gone. As she tried to get her head straight, she felt as if someone was burning a hole in her from their stare. She’d been getting a lot of weird looks since she had come home for the funeral.

She finally decided to look up and as she gazed across the top of the grave, she locked eyes with the man that had haunted her dreams for the last two years. She knew she must have gasped because her mother reached over and grasped her hand. She looked quickly around at her mother. She was looking at Randy too. Her mother and father were the only two people on earth who knew her secret. They were well aware how fragile it was to her.

She decided that she needed to face the reality of the fact that he was at her father’s funeral. Didn’t she halfway expected it? He had gotten to know her father as their friendship blossomed. Her mind drifted back about four years and she had to close her eyes to hold back the pain. It still hurt badly.

What? Did you think I was going to tell all? Can’t do that, not yet. For one reason it is not yet finished and another reason is that it would give away the story. I am excited to continue this series. It was a special one for me. I hope you enjoyed the small excerpt. If things work out well, it will be finished soon, that is if I don’t have writers block.

As always, have a wonderful Tuesday and good writing. May God bless and keep you.

 

 


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Writing from the hip!!!

 

Have you ever knew exactly what you wanted to write, but when you started putting it into print it changed in your mind? Well that is where my new piece of work is at. I’ve had the 2nd book in my “Flames of Love” series in my mind for two months. It’s been poking me all that time trying to get out. I finally sat down in August and wrote an outline so that my other books would not overtake it.

Sometimes the mind of a writer strays from it’s original mark and starts up an uncharted road. That is how is seems to me. I sat down yesterday morning to start “Rekindled Flames” which comes after my published book “Tender Flames”. It started off in the same general direction that I wanted it to go, but one of my characters went off on a sudden tirade and there you have it. The outline went askew.

I opened it up when I got to my office and had my assistant and editor read what I had so far which was almost seven pages in an hour and a half. She turned to me and smiled. That is always a good sign. She said she liked the new road and could not wait to read more. As I wrote last night and some this morning I decided I would throw out the outline and write from the hip. Sometimes that is just where the story has to go. We will see if it is a road that leads to the same end, but if it doesn’t it is from the heart. So….. To my fellow bloggers, have a wonderful day and as always, good writing.


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Third Cup of Coffee!

Well, it’s Thursday morning. My son is at school and my hubby has gone to work. My mind in swirling with words to put into my current book. I am so excited about this new one.

I just can’t seem to type fast enough to get the words out of my head. I can see the whole ending and I am chomping at the bit or keys as it would be. I worked last night in between watching “The Voice”. My son kept looking at me like I was crazy. I was actually smiling and chewing my lip as I typed.

Have you ever been so into a manuscript that your every thought was focused on it? I had a new thought yesterday for a new spin that has totally rocked my manuscript. One of my characters is going totally on another direction from the original thought.

It is funny how your mind works when you are into a manuscript. You think you have the right answers, but as you type your mind goes ahead of your fingers and totally changes everything. It is so cool how the process just develops on the scope of the work. I can’t tell you where the idea is going, because that would be a “spoiler”. I can tell you that my editor/assistant read up to what I had finished yesterday and she is now not speaking to me. She said she could not believe that I let her read it to that point and left her hanging over a cliff with no reprieve. I just smiled and knew I had accomplished what I wanted.

I know I have said other books were my favorite, but I can honestly say this one has taken 1st prize in my heart. I have honed my writing skills and took into account different reviews of my other books. I have changed techniques and ways of describing characters and places. Just can’t wait to type the end, but then again it has been such a big part of my life for the past month or so that I will probably have withdrawals. LOL!!!♥


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“A Love Never Lost” Oh the turns it’s made!

“A Love Never Lost” My “New Book” as it was affectionately called until Tuesday is almost finished. The cover is ready and it now has an official name. Now I have to finish it.

When I started this book I had an idea of where the characters were headed. I knew what I wanted to be the premise of the story. Well, in the writing world, as many of you know, my characters have had a mind of their own. This week one of my characters took on a whole new mindset. It has been exciting seeing where they would go.

Those that are not writers are probably saying to yourself, this lady has truly lost her mind. Well that would be true (Smiling and nodding yes!), but in the case of my writing, I have to go with the flow. Let the river turn and churn where it needs to in order to make it interesting.

I have loved all my published books, whether anybody else did or not. This book seems to be taking center stage in my heart. I lay awake at night wondering what will happen next. It has been an awesome ride. This will be the longest manuscript of all my books yet.

The release of “A Love Never Lost” is scheduled for mid September, or no later than late September. It is so exciting to see your baby start to try to take small steps. Well that is where it is at.

Hope everyone has a great Thursday!


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If you love him, let him go, if he returns…

 

 

 

As Wes came up behind her, she suddenly felt different.  Her heart was suddenly fluttering wildly. It had to be the beauty of the night sky and the scent of the honeysuckle vines growing along the fence outside the barn. He put his hand on her shoulder and squeezed it affectionately. “What’s on your mind?  You have been unusually quiet tonight.”  She turned and smiled up at him.  “I guess my mind is on this beautiful night.  The stars are so bright.”  She leaned her head against his chest, thinking how nice it was to be here with him.   She looked up into his dark eyes.  He was devastatingly handsome, with his dark hair and rugged face, not to mention the black Stetson.  He was definitely a cowboy to the bone.

Wes was also studying her face.  She was a beautiful young woman.  Her blonde hair was just past her shoulders.  The moonlight reflected off it like moonbeams.  She had hazel eyes so gentle; a man could drown in their depths.  For the first time he was focusing on her like a man for a woman, not just a friend. He looked deep into her eyes.  Slowly he lowered his mouth to hers and gently kissed her lips, careful not to linger for fear of losing control.  When he lifted his head, she was smiling.  “That was nice, but what did I do to deserve that?”

He laughed and hugged her close. “That was for being my friend and listening to my problems.  I need to talk to you.  Let’s walk down to the house, I need a drink.” He took her hand and they walked to his house.  What was up with him?  Serious was not one of his common emotions.  When they were settled on his couch with waters in hand, he turned to face her. 

“I have some news.”  He paused to take a drink before he continued. “I received a call last night regarding a job in Montana.  It is a great opportunity for me.  I will be training horses for a large ranch.  They will supply me with a house and stables for my horses.”  He watched for any emotion on her part. “Sara, I told them I would take the job.  I will leave in two days.” 

 

If you want to hear more about what happens with Sara & Wes, check out my 3rd book, “Moonbeam & Roses”

Moonbeam & Roses can be found at:

https://www.createspace.com/3942428  (Paperback Version)

http://www.amazon.com/Moonbeam-Roses-Stephanie-Payne-Hurt/dp/1478336811

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/180924


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Rainy Labor Day in Georgia!

 

Happy Labor Day to all! Well, we are finally getting some much needed rain here in Georgia. I know some of you are having BBQ’s and such, but guys we need the rain. I am sitting in my den, watching the rain and lightning outside the window. My hubby is watching hunting and my son is on the other laptop on Facebook.

It has been a productive weekend. I have been working on my “New Book” hoping to finish today. (Fingers Crossed). I have been doing some much needed  chores too. My mind just keeps going back to the book in need of finishing. I am going to give you a sneak peak of the book in a few more lines.

I want to give a shout out to my blogging friend Candace Knoebel for finally getting her book published. It comes out tomorrow on Amazon and Barnes & Noble so check it out. The name is “Born in Flames”. SO check it out when it comes out.

Now for an excerpt from “New Book”, (not really staying with that name, I promise) so here goes:

They reached the cabin just as the storm got closer. Zane put the horses in the shed and Lilly walked into the cabin. Outside the wind started to whip around the little cabin. She looked out the window and saw Zane running toward the cabin. The rain was starting to really come down.

He burst through the door, dripping wet. She laughed and handed him a towel she had found in the cabinet. He wiped his face and hair. He walked over to look out the window beside her.

“It is really coming up a good one now. I am glad we did not get caught halfway. We would not have made it home in time.” He tossed the towel to the table.

Lilly turned to look at him and had to turn back to the window. The rain had plastered his shirt to him. She had a lump come up in her throat. What was wrong with her? She had never felt this way about him. He was her best friend.

He saw her when she turned away quickly. He suddenly realized how isolated they were here in the cabin during the storm. The wind was whistling through the old windows and they rattled with protest on the pressure. The rain was beating on the old tin roof. The sound was almost deafening, but calming in the same instance.

He looked back at Lilly. She had her back to him, but he did not miss when she shivered. He noticed that she was damp from the rain too. He reached out and put his arms around her to get her warm.

He realized his mistake when he looked down at her startled eyes. He felt his body respond to her nearness. She was holding herself stiffly as if afraid to move. He knew he needed to step away, but he was glued to the spot. He felt as if his whole life was made for this very moment.

She could not move. Her whole body was reacting to him holding her so close. Her brain was getting fuzzy and she was having a hard time thinking clearly. She could hear the rain hitting the roof and the wind blowing outside, but it was muffled by the pounding of her heart. She could feel his heart where his chest was against her back. It was pounding as if in response to hers.

She had to turn and see his face. It was as if her life depended on it. She tried to reason with her brain, but no amount of common sense came through. She knew she would be lost if she saw what she thought she would see in his eyes.

She slowly turned in his arms. She heard his sudden intake of breath. She looked up into his eyes and saw what she had feared. He was feeling the same thing as her. His eyes were dark with desire. She had to get a grip, but that was past reasoning.

He looked down into her eyes. It was as though this moment was made for them. They were the only two people on earth. He ran his hands slowly up her arms and framed her face with his hands. He was holding his breath. He finally took in a cleansing breath.

He knew he had to kiss her. If he did not he would surely explode. He slowly lowered his lips to hers. She realized what was about to happen. This was wrong somehow this had to be wrong.

She pulled her head back and turned back toward the window. He just stood there. He was unable to move. He wanted to kiss her so badly. His whole body was vibrating with desire for her.

He turned her back toward him. She kept her eyes focused on his boots. He reached out and lifted her chin so that she was looking at him. He could see desire and confusion in her eyes.

“What is happening here?” He asked the question, but he knew the answer.

“I don’t know. Maybe it is the circumstances.” She tried to pull away but he held her steady. He leaned his forehead toward hers. They stood there for a moment just trying to breath.

She put her hand on his chest. She could feel his heart beating wildly. She knew that he wanted to kiss her. She was so afraid that things would never be the same for them if they kissed. Her heart told her that it would never be the same if they did not kiss.

She slowly looked back up at him. Her eyes going to his lips. He slowly lowered his lips to hers. This time she did not pull away. He kissed her and his heart soared. He felt like this is what he had waited for all his life. It was as if her lips were made for his. He turned his head slightly and tried to deepen the kiss.

She pulled back suddenly. Her heart was hammering in her chest. She could not do this to their friendship. She wanted him so badly to deepen the kiss, but she knew things would never be the same.

“Lilly, what’s wrong? I know you want this too. I can see it in your eyes.” He looked at her and could see she was struggling.

“I can’t do this Zane. We can’t do this.” She turned and ran out the door. The rain had stopped. She jumped on Buttercup and almost ran over Zane as she burst through the door.

He tried to grab her reins but they slipped out of his hands. “Lilly! Don’t leave, let’s talk about this.” He yelled to her fleeing back. He ran and got on his horse and tried to catch up with her. She was riding as though she was running from the devil himself.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little snippet. Let me know what you think. I love to hear from readers, especially when the baby is still in diapers and not quite ready for the first step.

Have a great holiday! Even if you have to stay inside, make the most of it. Play a game with your kids, snuggle with your hubby, or just curl up with a good book. As for me, I am curled up working on this book