Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Stepping up the game…

Good Monday morning! Wow, the weekend seemed way too short, but today is a new day. With a new day, starts a new game…

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, well, it’s promotion of our books. Look, you know as well as I do that the competition is steep. We have to make sure that our book outshines the thousands of other books in our genres. Some days it seems useless, but then the writer in me say, keep pushing.

For me, I’ve stepped up my game. How you might ask? Well, here’s how. I’ve stopped trying to be on every social media site out there. That’s just plain out exhausting and a waste of writing time trying to keep up with all of it. My main goal is to blog, keep my website interesting, and promote on a few social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Also, I’m making sure that all of my more than 30 books are on Allauthor.com. If you haven’t checked out this site, I suggest you do. You can put up to four of your books on there under the free membership and then set up automatic tweets. With as many books as I have, I went ahead and did the paid membership.

Don’t forget to build up your newsletter subscribers. I’ve met so many wonderful people through my newsletter and blog. Which if you can, keep posting several times a week. make it interesting and fun.

So, how will you step up your game?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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When the plot changes…

Well, it’s a foggy Saturday morning in Georgia.  That sounds like the opening line of a story. Yes, I’m in a writing mood this morning, so watch out word count, here I come.

Speaking of writing, have you ever been in the middle of a manuscript and the plot changes. I mean, you’re headed in one direction, then the story takes a turn in a different direction. That’s what happened in the manuscript I just finished. You see, I had it all figured out. I thought I knew where the characters were headed and what the ending would be like, but guess what? The plot changed. (The plot is the direction the story is going, like directing the main events that lead to the ending, you know, the backbone of the storyline.)

Sometimes when you’re writing a story, the characters seem to have a mind of their own. In Highlander’s Son, I had it all in my mind, but something wasn’t working. Now, the outline looked good and when I sat and plotted it out months ago, it seemed to work well. But once I was deep into the manuscript, over halfway completed, I realized that the plot was changing. I had to make a change or the story would flop.

It’s scary to change the plot of a story when you’re almost done. But once I got it in my head where the characters had to go to complete the story, I was on a roll. It turned out that the plot change worked and the story was complete.

Highlander’s Son took a turn in the plot and headed in a totally different direction. It’s at that moment that you throw the outline out the window at 70 mph and never look back. I have to say that when the plot changes, sometimes you have to just follow it’s lead or you’ll end up with a manuscript that is cut up in the editor’s floor, never to see the light of day.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Here’s a look at the cover for Highlander’s Son, which is coming out very, very soon!

highlanders son front cover


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Hashtags – Useful or not???

#23173416364_e8f8ee489e_sGood morning! Hope all is well with all of you.

Hashtags, do you use them or not? Well, I’ve been in and out on this subject, so I did several posts on Instagram and Twitter, using popular hashtags and the response was surprising. I started gaining followers and the retweets, likes and even comments went up in numbers. Not to mention my sales did a nice run up the scale.

Now, is this coincidence? Could be, but I think not. The reasoning behind this comment is that I have over thirty published titles and I did the test on only a couple of them. One was a back stock title.

I used the promotional methods that I learned in one of my latest promotional studies. Everything pointed at using hashtags that were similar to your book.  For example, I promoted Tuscany with #Italy #Tuscany #Oliveoil #amreading #truelove and I had several followers from the tourism industry and even some from the olive oil industry. (If you have read Tuscany, then you know why I hashtagged olive oil).

I even went one step further with the test, just to have a random selection. I used pictures from my personal everyday life and hashtagged the different things pertaining to the picture. Like our bbq chicken on the grill. My husband laughed at this one because, within minutes of posting it, I received several likes and comments from grillers, bbq restaurants and the like. It was great. Now I had my answer.

So, do hashtags work? Well, according to my little study they do. Have you had success with hashtags? Either way, let us know.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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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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When the story is clear as the blue sky…

IMG_2903

It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon! The sky is clear and brilliant blue.

That’s the way I feel about my writing today. All five of the books I’m working on are coming in very clear, might I say, loud and clear. To get my mind in writing, after Church I went outside and cleaned in the yard. This helped because now I want to write on all five, but as you know, that can’t happen all at one time, but I can try to get in a little on each, I hope.

So, how’s your writing going? Do you have a clear mind? If not, I’ll suggest going outside and breathing the fresh air. It will do wonders, I promise.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Series Emblem Reveal…

It’s Wednesday and I feel alive! What about you? Have you smiled this morning? As I write this, I can’t help but smile. Why you might ask? Well, I’m doing a small reveal today, which is exciting.

When you create a series, sometimes you create an emblem that represents that series. Well, when I created the Wishful Harbor Series, I wanted a special emblem and my awesome design team went to work to make sure that the dream I had for this series came to life. Of course, I’m not revealing the covers yet, just the emblem, for now…

So, I’d like to introduce you to the Wishful Harbor Series!

wishful harbor design

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Monday wonderings…

Good Monday morning! Yes, it’s Monday people. It’s a new week, so let’s make the best of it.

Have you ever wondered how much what you watch, listen to, or read affects your writing? For the last 35 years, I’ve written manuscripts, journals and such, but the surprising thing is that all of this affects my writing. It gets into our minds and hearts, strengthening us as writers. Should I say, beware of what you watch and listen to, LOL!

I watched several movies and shows on Highlanders, hence, a Highlander series. I watched the Love Comes Softly series, hence, a mail order bride series. Now I’m hooked on Grey’s Anatomy, but three seasons behind at the moment. Will I write a medical series? LOL! I don’t know so much about that, but it would be fun…

Oh, then music, yes, wonderful, stimulating music. There are so many country songs that fill my head with cowboys and romance, then there are classical pieces that inspire historical romance, oh and pop classics that inspire romance in general.

As writers, we’re artists, so everything around us inspires us. Even the blowing of leaves in the trees can inspire us. So, go outside, listen and be inspired. Watch, read and listen to things that inspire you.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…