Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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When the story knocks on your door…

Good morning! It’s Friday. Can you believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner? Wow! Time is flying.

So, as a writer, I’ve had so many stories running through my head. But sometimes I feel like a story doesn’t hold enough punch to actually publish. Then there are those stories that come at you and take your breath away. Those are the ones that make you push everything you’re working on aside to get them written.

I’m working on one of those at the moment. It’s been simmering for a while, but it was just simmering, not boiling over. Well, in the last couple of weeks it’s beginning to move past simmer into boiling. It’s like I can see everything so clear. The characters, the places, and the story, but as a writer, you know how it goes when you start to put it on paper, there are holes that need to be filled in.

The first day I worked on the manuscript, I typed the whole first chapter without slowing down. It was exciting. The funny thing is, I haven’t outlined it, yet… And if you’ve read my blog long enough, you know I’m an outliner.

So, what are you working on today? Anything that took you by surprise, or maybe just slipped in gradually?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Start to Publish…

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Good Tuesday morning! I hope all is well with you. As for here in Georgia, it may be Spring, but someone forgot to tell the weather. It’s chilly again…

As for my writing, things are going well. I have several manuscripts in various stages of production. You might ask, what stages are you talking about? Well, here’s a simple guideline that I follow as I bring a manuscript full circle into publication.

1: Of course, first things first, the idea. Sometimes the idea for a book can happen months before I even start the first page of the manuscript, but when the idea comes, I put it down on paper, if not I’ll lose the excitement of that moment. I have a small notebook that holds my story ideas, some have come to be and others have incorporated themselves into other stories.

2. As you know from previous posts, I do an outline. It’s basic, but it leads me through the story, the bones, so to speak. I’ve told you before, most stories come to me in whole, or large lumps of information. The quicker I get that outlined, the quicker the story can come alive.

3. Now it’s time to schedule it into my calendar. Right now, I’m scheduled through the end of the year with stories flowing over into 2017. This way I know in the back of my head what I need to finish on this manuscript in the future, like blurbs, covers and such.

4. Once it’s time to start the manuscript, I sit down with my outline and notes from thoughts I’ve had along the line. Even as I work on other books, things pop up in my mind that would work with other works. That’s when I pull out the outline from my portfolio and jot down the thought for future reference. That way I don’t lose the moment.

5. It’s time to write. This is when I get in the structure and bones of the story, fleshing out the outline points and filling in the characters as I go. This is also when Scrivener is my best friend. All of the characters are lined up down the left of my screen, reminding me of names and people involved. This part of the writing is fast and unedited, very unedited. It’s the write by the seat of my pants, knowing I’ll go back later to correct.

6. Ok, so I have my rough, rough, rough draft ready, now it’s time to go back and fix the many errors, misspelled words, horrible grammar and left off punctuation that leads my editor to want to plot my murder. Now it’s ready to go to her for the red pen, this is the scary part!

7. As I wait for the edited manuscript to come back, I’ll work on covers, blurbs, advertising and setting up the pre-order for the book that’s being worked over.

8. Now the manuscript is back, needing some work and ready to be corrected. I input the changes, make additions and get it formatted. I add the front and back matter, then scan back through to make sure I’ve checked everything. Oh, and just for giggles, I go back through, doing a spellcheck. I’m human, I forget stuff.

9. Wow, it’s now ready for publication! This is the moment an author sweats profusely, hoping you haven’t left off anything major, forgotten to correct something and hope upon hope that your readers love the book you’ve poured your heart into.

This is why most people that say, ‘I could write a book and publish it, it’s too easy’, they don’t ever publish a book. A book doesn’t just appear when you have the thought, it’s a process, one that needs to be taken seriously. So many authors don’t take it seriously and when they hit send, it’s missing something or hasn’t been thought through. Take it seriously, it’s your reputation as a writer.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

P. S. Don’t forget Lily comes out the 27th. Get your preorder now…

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Do you know how it will end?

When I sit down to start a new story, most of the time I have an idea of how it will end. Sometimes I can see the whole story and other times it comes to me as the story unfolds. It’s funny how a story comes to you suddenly and you just have to sit down and sketch it out.

I love it when the whole story comes into my head, but then sometimes that makes it difficult because you rush to the ending and leave out the filler. The filler is the heart of the story in most cases. It’s the descriptions, the character building, and the ins and outs of the story that make it build to the last page.

Have you ever knew how it ended, but not the filler? I have done this so many times. I know how it starts and I know how it ends, but not the filler. But the filler will come.

But what happens when you don’t know how it will end? I have written what I thought were stand alone books and then when I neared the end I couldn’t end it there. I had to continue the story. Sometimes it’s the end that is far away in my mind which causes a series to be born. I can see many angles of the first story or bringing out the side characters in a story of their own. 

So we as writers don’t always know how it will end. I have so many people ask me how many books are going to be in a certain series and I really can’t tell them. They always ask why. Well it’s usually not something that comes readily. If the story is compelling enough it could go on for several books, or if I see the story starting to wane, then I put a The End on it. The story decides how it ends and sometimes I just don’t know how it will end or when.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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The day after the feast…

The day after the feast and I sit here feeling like I’m still full. I don’t even think I can eat breakfast. Although I will make room for a cup of coffee. I always have room for that. It’s crazy the feeling I have on the day after Thanksgiving. The excitement of the Christmas season is stirring around in my mind. I feel the decorating bug coming on heavily and know that by the end of the day my house will look like as my hubby would say “Christmas threw up all over the place”. 

I’m not a shopper like most on black Friday. Going out into the wilds of shopper frenzy is not the least enticing to me. Now cyber Monday is my day to shop. I can sit in my living room and shop til my fingers cramp. No hassles, no crowds, no fighting over the last sale item, just me and my laptop. 

Now that the Christmas book is finished and the other books are in the works I feel a little better. But the stories dance in my head like sugar plums. I’m trying to finish the works I’ve got started, but the stories keep popping in and taking over. So as I sit here and enjoy a long leisurely morning of movies, coffee and Christmas decorations my mind is whirling with stories and covers and other bookish things.

Why is it a writer never takes a vacation or holiday? Since my accounting office is closed until Monday I don’t have figures dancing in my head, but the writer in me stays awake at night with thoughts and ideas. I watch movies and ideas pop in my head, I listen to music and ideas pop into my head, I see a picture and ideas pop into my head. yeah I’ve got it bad. 

Someone asked me one day, ‘Don’t you ever run out of things to write?’ Well, sometimes I have writer’s block on a certain story line. That’s when I move on to the other work in progress and eventually I move back the one that was blocked for a little time. As a writer your mind is usually on overdrive. Crazy how it works. 

The only bad thing about the stories whirling in your brain is the times you want them to stop they usually speed up. As I slipped into bed last night I thought I was sleepy, but as soon as my head hit the pillow I knew it was useless. I lay on one side and then the other, fighting with sleep, try desperately to win. Finally I sat up realizing it was futile. I grabbed my Kindle and headed to sit by the fire in the den. I needed to clear my head so I read for three hours, yeah three hours. When I looked up at the clock I was glad that I didn’t have to go into the office the next morning. 

As I sit here this morning watching Sabrina and enjoying my coffee the stories are pushing past this post, wanting to escape. I know what all needs to be done to get ready to decorate, but the writer in me wants to just sit here all day with Christmas movies in the background and my laptop in my lap. Oh I love this life.

But alas, I do need to make my house look festive as this is my favorite time of year. So buckle yourself up and get ready for the ride because from now until Christmas I’ll be in high gear. Let’s get our Christmas on…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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When stories fill your head…

It’s crazy how a writer’s brain works. Of course I’m working on a deadline that’s looming pretty quickly. As my vacation helped knock some of that out, I still need to finish the manuscript. The funny thing is another story is filling my brain.

I was watching a movie Saturday and suddenly I was inspired. No, I’m not going to write about the story that I was watching or copy what that show was about. It was someone in the movie, or rather the job that they held. As I watched the romance unfold on television, the story was unfolding in my brain. 

What made it even worse, I had my laptop in my lap working on my manuscript with a deadline. My hands were just laying on the keyboard as I daydreamed about the story going through my head. So in the next couple of weeks I will fill you in on the story, but for now I’ll get back to the work at hand. Oh, and waiting to hear if I made it to the next level of the SYTYCW2013 Harlequin writing contest.

Hope you’re all having a productive Monday…

So, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Handwritten or Typed, what’s your preference?

As long as I can remember I’ve been writing down my thoughts. Sometimes in journal form or just in story form. I’ll see something or someone and it’ll inspire a verse or maybe two, sometimes even a whole novel. But it’s where and when which determines the preference of my writing tools.

When I was younger we didn’t have a computer, obviously, let’s not go there. I’d get composition books and fill them with my thoughts and stories. The funny thing is I still have those notebooks. Some of the books I’ve written came from those pages. Of course I’ve changed them around to fit the times, but they’re still the basics that I wrote so long ago.

As I read over what I hand wrote all those years ago, I laugh at my innocence. I can tell when things were changing in my mind and when I started to think differently. I love reading over some of them. I’ll have to put some of them in my blog sometime.

Today I prefer my laptop as it keeps down the hand cramps and it’s quicker at times. I do keep a small pad with me for when I’m away from my laptop I can still catch the moment. I’ve even been know to take a notebook to the bubble bath to write. Those pages are usually smeared and crinkly from the humidity, but readable. 

So what’s your preference?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Do you like it long or short?

Well, do you like it long or short? You may be scratching your head and saying, well that’s it, she’s finally lost what’s left of her brain. What I mean is reading. Do you like a long novel or a short easy read?

I was reading a post yesterday about a study done on how many actually finish a long novel. It intrigued me. I started thinking about all the books that I’ve started and they were good up to a point, then about 100 or so pages in I lost track of where the book was going. But then later I pick it up and finish it on a rainy day.

I’ve written long and short books, but I get the better response from the short ones. Amazingly enough a lot of people prefer a short, easy read that get’s to the heart of the story quickly and keeps them enthralled for a couple of hours. Several publishing sites actually have a special segment of publishing call short reads or lunch time reads.

When I was younger the craze was the long novel and now it seems the shorter the better. I was going through some new books on Smashwords.com the other day and over half of them were less than 10000 words. Amazing.

I guess that’s why my shorter novels sell better. Funny isn’t it. We’ve gotten to such a busy way of life that we’ve even shortened our reading time. Oh, we still make time for reading, but we want to do it in record time so we can go out and get busy again. Oh well, I’ll just write what I feel like I need to get my stories across and hope it passes the test. 

So, let me ask again, Do you like it long or short? See I told you it wasn’t a crazy question…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…