Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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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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Just a little hint…

Good Saturday afternoon! Hope everyone is taking some time to enjoy life today. I’m finally sitting down for a little bit to write and blog. But, I have a little tidbit about my upcoming new series to dangle in front of you… so here goes…

1: There will be five books in the series…

2: The series is based around a small town on the northeast coast.

3: Each story has a connection to the other stories, so yes, they are connected.

These stories will be heartwarming and make you smile. I’m really excited about this new series and I can’t wait to introduce you to it. All five covers are completed and the series symbol is ready.

Hope you have a great Saturday and stop by my website at www.stephaniehurtauthor.com to sign up for my newsletter and stay up to date on all of the new releases as they come.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Inside a Series…

Series Article

Good morning! As you can tell from the picture above, I’m talking about Five Oaks Ranch, my bestselling series.

Have you written a series? If so, did you have a hard time keeping the stories straight? This series was a work in progress that kept me on my toes. The idea for the series came as we drove back from our Florida vacation a couple of years ago. The road signs were passing by and each one seemed to spur an idea. So, by the time I got home, I had a skeleton map drawn on my notepad. Since I get car sick easily, it was a horrible looking thing, but I had it in my head and heart.

Over the next couple of days, I put together the book names, the character sketches for the five main characters and ideas for how their stories would go together. This series was the most fun as they almost wrote themselves. Each book fed off the other and it was as though I wrote one long manuscript and cut it into five books. I know, there were six, but the Christmas book only came into my head toward the end of Luke.

Several people started writing to me that they wanted to know more about the parents. At first, I was like, but this is the story about the five children, hence the series name, Five Oaks Ranch. Then as I sat thinking about it, I came up with the idea for the Christmas story that would bring it all together. So, A Christmas to Remember was born. By the way, at the end of the Christmas book, I’ve put several of my own family recipes that have been passed down through the generations.

The family tree is introduced in the Christmas book. You’ll notice that some of the kids haven’t been born in any of the books, but I wanted to let my readers know that the characters went on to lead love-filled lives together.

So, have you started the Five Oaks Ranch series yet? Ridge is free! This book stayed in the top 100 of free books on Amazon for over a year, which made me giggle with excitement everytime I looked at the stats. And you’ll notice a pretty, shiny silver medallion on the cover of Ridge. He was honored with a five-star review from Reader’s Favorites! Here’s the link to the whole series if you’re in the market for a new series to read, but here’s a warning, you’ll fall in love with the Cauthen’s.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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New year…New series…

With everything going on, I’ve not mentioned the fact that I have two new series coming out this year. Although one will spill over into 2018…

I’m excited about the possibilities of both series. The first one is Sky Ridge and it’s a three-book historical romance series. This series will take you back to the 1800’s old west. The covers are already completed and up on my website, so take a look if you get a chance. They’re gorgeous and give you the feeling of each one. I can’t wait for the first release which will happen in a short while…

The second series is a five book New England small town romance series. The series is called Wishful Harbor. It will be about a small New England town and the lives of five friends and the romance that they find. I’ll be working on these covers in the coming months, but for now, let’s just say, things are getting exciting…

Of course, I have a couple of stand-alone books coming too. Most of them are already featured on my website.

So, what are you working on this year? Any new series or finishing a series?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

P.S. Here’s a peek at the first cover in the Sky Ridge series…

promises-made-front-cover

 


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At Series End…

Good morning! Hope all is well…

I’m working on the last of the Five Oaks Series and feel a bit out of sorts. Not sure if it’s a feeling of being glad it’s almost at an end or sad about it. When you pour your heart into a series and the characters are part of your daily life for over a year, it’s hard to say goodbye.

Then again, as a writer, I’m ready to begin the new series and stand-alone manuscripts that are outlined and ready to come alive. With the plan of putting this series to bed by the end of this year, it’s played with my mind.

How do you feel as you get to the end of your series? Do you start to mourn the end or relish in the thought of it?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Stepping back …

Good Sunday morning! Here in Georgia it’s chilly but sunny. It will be a beautiful day.  For me, I’m sitting by the fire, enjoying the early morning quiet.

This morning’s post is about the rough draft. I’ve had the rough draft completed and turned into my editor for a week. I haven’t looked at the rough draft since I handed it over. But it has work to be done. I want to embellish on the story, add several elements to help bring his story alive, but I had to step back.

What do I mean by step back? Well, it’s simple. During the writing process sometimes we get too close to a project, then get burnt out. For some reason, the story started slipping away. I still had the bare bones, but the flesh and all the other things that make it a whole story seemed to go out of my brain. I had to step away from it.

Now, I think I’m almost ready to step back into the story. Of course, I’m in the middle of Maggie’s story, but it helps to get into another story to get the one that slipped away back into your brain. It’s still a little foggy, but I think I’ll do fine.

Have you ever had to step back in order to get the story going?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Let’s face it, it’s inevitable!

Good Wednesday morning! I hope all is with you and yours. This morning as I sat fanning away yet another hot flash, my mind was whirling. A couple of months ago I mentioned that possibly a series devoted to the 40 plus heroine and hero might be on my horizon. Well now that the Five Oaks Ranch series is almost to a close, or will be by Christmas, I’m rethinking that thought.

Face it people, every second we’re aging. I know, you’re making a face at the screen right now, but it’s reality. Most romance novels are written about the younger heroines and heroes, but what about those older adults that want to find love. In today’s world many older people are looking for love, so why not put some romance into it. Hey, I’m nearing that halfway mark and I still love romance. Good thing since I’m a romance author 😉

The series, of course will be about romance, but with a little humor sprinkled in. Since I’m in the lovely throws of menopause I can so relate to the characters that are pushing their way to the front of my writer brain. Why not have a menopausal heroine or a hero going through a midlife crisis? I think it would make good romance material.

So, what are your thoughts?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…