Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Toes in the Sand Giveaway

toes in the sandBelow are the ways to enter Stephanie’s latest giveaway. It starts now, and ends Wednesday, May 18th at 10:00am. The winner will be given the option to pick any one of her many books as the prize! (this excludes collections) Make sure you are watching so you don’t miss any of the chances to get your name in the drawing.

On top of this over the next 9 days, if she reaches 200 likes on her author Facebook, and every 100 after that until the end of the giveaway, she will have a flash giveaway!


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Ghost Lover is 4 today!

It’s a beautiful morning here in Georgia. A little cool, but nice and sunny. Today Ghost Lover, my first published book turns 4! Wow, I can’t believe it’s been four years. Time really does fly when you’re having fun.

If you haven’t read Ghost Lover, let me give you a little bit of info. Ghost Lover is a romantic tale of love and betrayal. Here are the blurb and an excerpt from my favorite of all my books. This one holds my heart, I guess because it was the first.

The dying words of Jess’s mother are for her to find the love of her life. But with an overbearing father, will she have that chance? When he gives her a horse and riding lessons for her 21st birthday, her life changes. Is the cowboy behind the Black Stetson her soul mate? When her father’s partner decides to stake claim on her, who will win the fight? Suspense, tragedy, romance and a stranger in the shadows lead to a dramatic final showdown in Ghost Lover…

Her eyes had gotten accustomed to the darkness. She searched the shadows for any sign of movement. She was holding her breath. What could it be? Suddenly there was slow movement in one corner. She put her hand up to her mouth. Her feet were rooted to the floor. Was she in danger? But she felt perfectly safe.

A shape formed out of the shadows. It was a man in a cowboy hat. She couldn’t see his face only the dark shape. Was this an illusion or ghost? She was drawn to the shadow by some unknown feeling.

“Who are you and why are you here? Do I know you?”

“You know me, but he won’t let you remember me.” The voice was low and haunting.

“Should I be afraid of you?” She suddenly realized that she should be afraid, but she couldn’t move.

“I’d never harm you.” He slowly moved closer but still in the shadows.

“Why’re you here in the shadows? Why don’t you come into the moonlight so that I can see you?” She noticed he lowered his head and then looked back toward her.

“I don’t want you to see me this way. I want you to remember me before you look upon my face.” The sadness in his voice did something inside her heart.

“What’s wrong? Have you been injured in some way?” Her heart went out to him.

“Yes, I was burned in an accident. I want you to remember what we had before you see me.”

“What was our relationship?” Her heart was racing. She thought it would come out of her chest it was beating so hard.

“You’ll remember it. I don’t want to rush your memories. When you remember, you’ll know me.” Why did she want to reach out to this person so much?

“Were we friends?” Could this be the man in her dreams that she couldn’t see his face? Had he been scarred when she knew him before her accident?

“Yes, we’re very close. I know you have me locked in your memory and it’ll come out.” He reached his hand out of the shadows and stroked her face. His touch set off an electrical charge through her veins.

“Are you a ghost?” He laughed softly and the sound set her mind reeling.

“What do you think?” She tried to see him through the shadows, but couldn’t see his face.

“I think you’re the man that has haunted my dreams since I lost my memory.” Her voice was little more than a whisper as she spoke.

“How do you feel about me in your dreams?” He was slowly moving closer.

“I feel confused because I can’t see your face and remember who you are?” She reached her hand up to try to touch his face, but he gently grabbed her hand and put it to his heart. She could feel it beating wildly.

“Can you feel my heart beating? You’re what keeps my heart beating.” His voice was rough with emotion.

He looked up suddenly and pulled her into the shadows. She gasped, not out of fear, but surprise.

“Someone’s coming, but I need you to promise me that you’ll keep Thomas at arm’s length. He’s a danger to you.”

“What kind of danger? He said he’s my husband.” She could hear the footsteps getting closer.

“Just trust me; he’s not your husband.” He put his hands on both sides of her face and kissed her so gently that she almost lost her footing. “Don’t tell him about me. I’ll be here waiting for you tomorrow night at midnight.” He slowly went back into the shadows. She could hardly catch her breath.

This is one of my favorite parts and it leaves you wondering, is he a ghost or not?

Just a little reminder, don’t forget to check out my new website at

www.freshfromthebook.com

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…


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Let’s do a little Throwback Thursday!

Good morning! It’s Thursday, which means it’s almost Friday. Today is the final day for 2014 tax returns to be filed, so you know how my day will go, pants on fire, yep…

Let’s go back to May 2012! I published Tender Flames, a sweet romance. It actually met with reader approval and some disapproval. As I’ve done with some of my earlier publishings I’ve revised this book and made it better. My writing has changed drastically from the early days. With that said, let me give you a look at the new cover.

Tender Flames revised cover

If you’ve read Tender Flames, then you totally get this cover, if not, then I hope you’ll grab a copy. This romance is a love triangle that pulls you in and takes you on a ride. I love this story for the unique quality of the romance that has grown from childhood for the main characters and yes I mean the three in the triangle. That’s what makes it special.

http://www.amazon.com/Tender-Flames-Revised-Love-Book-ebook/dp/B0084USOE2/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

As always, good writing and May God Bless You!

P.S. Still waiting on the results for the Harlequin SYTYCW15 contest. Keep those fingers crossed.


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Do you treat writing as a business or hobby?

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Let’s talk about your writing for a moment. Lately I’ve been reading a lot about the business of writing. It’s got me thinking about my writing. Most articles I read constantly ask, do you treat your writing as a business? Or is it just a hobby that you play at? Something to think about.

I take my writing seriously, really seriously. To me writing is a business that I treat as though it’s a 9 to 5 job, but I don’t get to spend that much time with it. I’ve talked to several writers that feel the same way I do about writing, but others say they only write on a whim and don’t really take it serious.  I guess it’s whatever is important to you.

Can I let you in on something I’ve learned from my experience and the experience of the many writers I’ve spoken with, if you don’t take your writing seriously, how do you expect anyone else to? If it’s just a hobby, then your fighting a losing battle because you’re not planning to put in it what it takes to really do something with it. I’m not lecturing, just stating a fact.

So, here goes my soapbox moment. For your writing to count, then you’ve got to believe in it yourself. You need to step up to the plate and take that swing. Yes, you’ll miss the ball a couple of times, I know I have, but in the end you’ve given it all you’ve got. The only way to make it to home base is to put the effort in and push forward.

One author told me that all she ever does is promote to friends and family. That’s good, but if that’s all you do, then your reach is only so long. In order to succeed you’ve got to go past your inner circle, step out of your comfort zone and do it. Do some Facebook promotions, Tweet like crazy, do an author signing, but do something! Ok, I’m off my soapbox for this one moment, but don’t fret, I’ll be back on it again really soon;)

Ask yourself this question. What do you want out of your writing? Is it fame, fortune, or to get a point across? Why do I ask? Well, it’s an important question because a lot of really good writers never see any of that. Do you know why? They never strive to better themselves. Read every article you can get your hands on, enter contests, attend conventions when possible, but inform yourself. As with any business, you’ve got to keep up with today’s readers. To do that you’re going to have to step up to that proverbial plate and swing…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Come like my author Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/StephaniePayneHurt or

sign up for my newsletter at www.stephaniehurtauthor.com


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Emma Rose is now available!

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Good Friday morning! I’m excited to announce that Emma Rose is finally available. It’s been a long and harrowing journey, but she’s out. This was a book that brought about many changes. I’m ready to move forward with the next installment of the Women of Magnolia Hill Saga. It will be out in early 2015.

I hope you’ve checked out the Romancing September tour that Rosie Amber and I have been doing all month. It’s a great way to help support other authors and find lots of new books for your TBR list. Mine has grown so much that I should be good for a long time.

Another exciting thing to put out here is the upcoming western romance series that I’ll start as soon as I get a couple of days rest. Who am I kidding? I’ve already started the new series. It’ll be 5 books and each one is another aspect of the family of 5 Oaks Ranch. They’re full of family drama, humor, love, romance and just down right good clean, exciting fun. I’m so excited about this series. I’ll be posting little snippets as it goes. The covers are all completed, but nope, I’m not going to give anything away just yet, but I will tell you there’s a little something, something at the end of Emma Rose regarding this series.

Oh yeah, before I go back to writing, I have another announcement. Yep I’m full of them today. I have a Christmas romance in the works and it will be part of my Christian Romance series Lean On Him. This will be a very hard book to write, not that it’s not coming to me, but it’s about a hard subject. I’ll tell you more later, but let’s just say it will be a different side of romance from my normal writing. But it’s a subject that’s close to my heart. Ok, that’s enough of that for now.

I hope all of you have a great weekend and don’t forget to pick up a book. Be kind and give the author a review. We love hearing from our fans.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you…


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Advertising and Promotions?

Well I forgot to turn the heater on in my office this morning. It’s a balmy 25 outside and inside my office it’s real close to that. My fingers are numb, but I ran into the house and warmed up my sweater by the fire. I’m sure my neighbors think I’ve gone nuts running back and forth between the office and the house, but it’s too cold to merely walk.

On to this morning’s writing topic. How do you advertise or promote? Well you may be saying, what’s the difference? I’m going to give you my view of the differences and then a few pieces of advice. To me advertising is something you pay for and promoting is getting your book out there via any channel you can get your two cents in.

Advertising

Advertising is a hot topic among authors. Do you pay a hefty fee and hope that someone will see the ad and buy your book? It’s a catch 22 really. I believe that you need some paid advertising to get your book in front of a different audience than just Facebook, Twitter and various other places. But choose wisely. I’ve heard of too many authors that paid for advertising and never saw the ad or much less found it on the site. Don’t choose too quickly from an exciting email you get from a “advertising firm”. 

Take for instance, yesterday I received an email from a company that said they’d put my book on many sites for a fee. They went on to paint a pretty impressive picture of their company. Funny thing is when I Googled their firms name I didn’t find anything, nada, nothing! That was a major red flag for me. They then went into their fees. WHOA!!! Let’s just say, I’d have to sell hundreds of books to even make it back. Needless to say I deleted said email and went on my merry way.

If you find a reputable place to advertise and it’s fairly reasonable for what you’re getting, then by all means go for it. If they say their service tweets and facebooks your ad, go to Twitter and Facebook to see the traffic they garner. If they only have 10 followers and no responses or few retweets you’d best move on. ‘Nough said.

Promotions

Now this can be fun and tedious at the same time. Don’t over promote in a day. The reason I say this is, I’ve tried to analyze the results from a study I did. I tested this theory on Twitter and was amazed. I spent two days just blowing up Twitter with nothing but promotional stuff from my books. I tweeted from every book site I had and yada yada. Then I watched as my Twitter followers started dropping off like wasps in a nest after they met Raid. Well, it’s obvious that this wasn’t a good plan. Then I did this in a more laid back way and gained several new followers. I only tweeted a couple of times during high traffic times and added in books from other authors and funny sayings or just daily writing tips. Amazing the difference. Even had several nice retweets, especially thankful ones from the authors I tweeted. Yes, the first test garnered a couple of retweets, but only from my most dedicated Twitter followers. 

A lot of sites say they’ll do the tweeting and posting for you, but let’s get real, we can do that ourselves for free. Well, that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

Here’s a couple of the places that I’ve done paid advertising and seen results:

http://www.rwa.org/ Romance Writer’s Of America – I put an ad in their monthly magazine and had some great results. It’s not very expensive and it reaches many readers that actually read my genre. They’re really easy to work with and totally worth it. Also join their organization to get the monthly magazine and all their wonderful help on their website.

http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/about-ian.html The Independent Author Network. This is a great site also to promote and advertise. The authors here work as a team to tweet and retweet each other’s books. I always notice a big upswing in views and sales when I go in and help other authors. Very reasonable to join.

http://bookclubreading.com Book Club Reading is a new one I’m using for both areas. They help you to get your name and books out to book clubs. Their advertising is fairly reasonable and it’s helped with sales of my Christmas book.

Promotional sites I worked with that are free and easy:

http://www.prlog.org This is a press release site. I use the free option and they produce great looking press releases that you can send out to all your social sites and they put them into several channels. It’s fairly easy to use and set up is easy.

Goodread.com Goodreads is a great promotional area. Set up events for upcoming promotions and join groups that are in your genre. It promotes your name and get’s you some great advice to boot. 

Shelfari.com Shelfari is a great place to put your books and gained followers. You can download your books directly from Amazon and even your reading list. I’ve made some great friends on this site.

http://worldliterarycafe.com/ This site is a wonderful promotional tool and I’ve learned a lot from them. Join their group on Facebook and ask what you need to know or just read what others have asked. Of course on the Facebook group don’t promote your books. That part of their site is only for Q & A or helpful hints. 

Now these are just a couple. There’s so many great sites out there and I know I didn’t mention even half of them.

As always good writing and May God Bless You…

 

 


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The Fear Of Failure

Who’s ever had a fear? Come on, you know you’ve had some kind of fear in your lifetime. We all do, but how do you handle that fear. When I started writing many, many years ago, the biggest problem was I had a fear of publishing. Why? Well, think about it, it’s putting yourself out there. You’re putting your name out there, your reputation and sometimes your creativity.

Ok, so I have fears. I’ve had so many writers message me about this. They’ve written one or more manuscripts, but they fear publishing it. I always tell them to go with their heart. If they get some people to read their work and they like it, then go for it. 

Here’s a list of reasons I feared publishing and sometimes still have a couple:

1. I feared what others would think. (I’ve gotten over that. Now I just don’t worry about it as much. I’ve learned to just write what I love and put it out there.)

2. I feared putting my name on something that would go all over the world. Actually it’s been a blast. Have only had a couple of weird encounters, but mostly have gotten over this one.

3. Crazily enough, a fear I still have every time I hit publish is that I’ve accidently downloaded the wrong file and it will be the character list or outline and not the manuscript. I did actually put the wrong cover on CreateSpace one time, but when I did the file check I discovered it and made the correction. That was a close one.

4. Reviews. You may think this is the same as #1, but it’s not. This is the fear of the dreaded bad review that just makes you feel so deflated. But I’ve learned to deal with those also. I’ve only had a couple of bad reviews and fortunately if anyone reads the review they’ll realize that in some instances the person didn’t read the book to begin with. One bad review was because the characters names were the same as one of my older books. Really! One fan said a negative review of one of my books actually caused her to get the book and she loved it. Funny how things work out.

5. The fear of complete failure. It’s so real in every author’s mind when they publish their work. What if nobody buys my book? I had that fear at first, but as the sales went up I realized that maybe that wasn’t a fear worth having. I’m not a bestselling author, but I’m pleased with the sales I’ve had. Since I’ve only been publishing for a little over a year, I can’t complain.

Well, what’s your fear when publishing, writing or even blogging?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Special Giveaway to Offer

Audible.com has honored me with 25 free audible book coupons for “With All My Heart” and “Moonbeam & Roses”. So here is how this works. The first 25 that message me for each book at stephaniehurt4@gmail.com will get a code to get the free audio book. Please state which book you are entering for. I will announce the winners as soon as all spots are gone. So watch your email and good luck.

So, don’t delay. The spots will go fast. Don’t forget it’s free, so why not.