Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Closing a story…

It’s looking to be a rainy Monday here in Georgia, but I’m smiling. This weekend I published Promises Forgotten, the 2nd book in the Sky Ridge Series. I’m super stoked about that release. But I have another surprise for my readers…

I published a book in 2013 that was left on a cliffhanger. The book held my heart in many ways, but the 2nd book seemed to stay just far enough away that I couldn’t get it to work right. Every time I started to write the 2nd book, it would slip away. Well, it all came flowing in a couple of weeks ago, coming in like a tidal wave. Then on Saturday, I wrote the last word with a satisfied sigh.

It’s so crazy. When I was writing the first book, Open the Heart, the continued story was at the tip of my tongue, but then it just went away. So, as some authors do, I put it away until it came back. I didn’t want to do the first book injustice or the characters. I’m excited that Lacey’s Choice is about to be published.

So, as I drift through this haze of accomplishment, I hope all of you have a fantastic day!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Lacey's Choice front cover

 

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Writing a book is easy!…

Hello, Sunday morning…. What happened to Saturday? It went by too fast and now the weekend is almost over.  I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing, yet… Oh well, life goes on.

Here’s a question… How many times does someone come up to you and say, ‘Writing a book is easy, I can do that with my eyes closed.’? I’ve lost count of the people that have told me that when they found out that I’m an author. Usually. I just say, ‘Go ahead, give it a try.’ I know that they haven’t looked into what it entails and probably wouldn’t see it through.

If you’re a writer, you know what’s involved. It’s not the easy job that most think it is. There’s more to becoming a writer than just writing. Most people think that if you’re a writer, then all you do is sit and write. LOL! There’s more to it than that. So, here goes a short list of what goes into the writing of a book, and this is a short list, so it doesn’t get into everything.

1: A story comes to you… This could be the whole thing or just an idea.

2: You begin to outline or put together notes on the idea for the story. At this point, you’re setting up the characters, setting, and plot.

3: You start to write the story. This process could take you a week or couple of years according to how fast the story comes to you or the time you have to get this process completed. Sometimes the story doesn’t come as fast as you want it to.

4: As you write your story, you develop an idea for the cover and at that point or somewhere down the road, you design a cover that goes with the story. (This isn’t as easy as it sounds.)

5: Alright, you’ve written your story, designed your cover, now what? Edit, edit and edit some more. Then you read your story and possibly write more or change some of the story. At this point, I’ve deleted whole chapters that hurt the flow of the story, yes, I said whole chapters. It hurt but had to be done.

As you can see, this is just the start. There are so many other steps to writing a book. This is just a quick, condensed version, but you get the idea. It’s not the easy process that some think it is. But, it’s a rewarding process once it’s done and you’ve published your work.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…IMG_1489

 


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Still holding on…

This morning it looks like fall outside, but by lunchtime it will feel like mid summer. The summer feeling is still holding on, even though fall is pushing hard, trying to slip in. By the end of the week, it’s looking like fall might win.

It’s the same with writing. We start out pushing our first story, then wait. How will it be received? Will it make it to a best sellers list or will it flop? Will I be able to push another story out?

I’ve spoken with authors that work on stories for years before they try to publish them, then others, like myself, push out several stories in one year. But how many of us make it to the next stage, full time writer. Surprisingly enough, not many make it to that status.

We push ourselves, and our work, sometimes to the point that we think it’s pointles, then that sliver of hope comes over the horizon, like the sliver of a moon that stays in the sky after dawn. Maybe it’s a contract with a publisher. Maybe it’s the bestseller list that you hit. Or maybe it’s a great review. Whatever it is, it helps you hold on.

For me it’s the pursuit of the story. My head is filled with them, sometimes to the brink of exploding. I have to get them out, and writing does it. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to write full time. So I push forward, I strive for my goal.

My advice to all my fellow author is to push forward, keep your goal in your sites and don’t give up. All it takes is one book to send you to the top, so keep writing and posting. You never know, the one you finish today could be the one that catapults you to a top ranking author.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Picking the tree…

My son took me to the local Christmas tree farm Thursday. It was cold, but we had a long walk to the tall trees. We actually had an amazing time, laughing as we went from tree to tree, trying to find the perfect Hurt family tree.

As we walked among the trees, looking at aspects of the trees, it reminded me of editing a book. When we look at our manuscript, it’s with anxious eyes. We search for the holes in the story, like the holes in the tree that ornaments and lights can’t hide.

Then, of course, we look for the best branches to hold our ornaments. Same way with editing our story. We have to make sure that it’s a strong story and doesn’t fall off the edge of interesting. That’s a hard one, because we’re close to the story and love it. My editor assistant always finds these easily.

Oh, and don’t forget the straight stump! If you get home with a curved stump, well, it’s a disaster. If your manuscript doesn’t get the story straight, if it curves away from the story line, you’ll lose the reader.

So, today I’ll finish decorating my tree and yes, I’ll post many pictures. This is my favorite time of year, so my house looks like it threw up Christmas (my son’s words, not mine). I love my Santas, Snowmen, Angels, and Christmas village. So, I deck the halls!

As always, Great writing and May God Bless You…

Happy Saturday!

 


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Problem? No, just a writer…

Have you ever been caught staring at someone? Come on, you know you have. I’m a people watcher. It’s part of being a writer. I’ve been sitting in a crowded room before and noticed someone doing something out of sync with everyone else. Of course then my overactive imagination stitches a story regarding why they’re acting different.

I’ve actually written stories based on people watching. It’s really fun to sit back and watch a couple in love. You wonder what their story is and then you piece it together with your own spin. Maybe they met by chance or have been friends for years and turned the tables. What’s really fun is you don’t know their true story, but your imagination can expand on what the eye sees. If they’re holding hands and giving those cute lovey looks, you can expand on the romance side of the story. Maybe they’re newlyweds or just newly dating. It’s up to your imagination.

I love to watch people in love. Guess that’s why I love weddings. A wedding can fill many pages of your mind. Most of the time I know the person getting married, but I’ve attended weddings where I’m not too familiar with the couple. I can sit and imagine their love story, the engagement and the romance. It’s fascinating really.

So yes, I have a problem, but it’s for a good cause 😉

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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If your story falls apart, use duct tape?

Duct tape is a house staple, just as salt, sugar and flour are food staples. For many years people have fixed almost everything with duct tape. At Church we even fixed a broken Christmas tree with duct tape, no really we did. It’s strong and durable. Also you can get it in any width and color so it’s versatile.

What if you’re story is falling apart? We all have those manuscripts that start out really good and we have a phenomenal ending planned, but the middle has so many holes and fractures that it puts a real stink on the beginning and ending. Well, put a little duct tape on it. What am I talking about? Well, here goes the answer in a nutshell.

By duct tape I mean sit down with your beginning and ending. Then really look at it. Where is the character headed? The middle needs some suspense or issue that needs to carry the reader over the hump to the end. It needs something that only the ending can shed some light on. This is where the duct tape comes in.

As I said above, duct tape is strong and durable with lots of versatility, so the middle of the book needs to be taped up neatly. But be careful not to just add fluffy filler that makes the reader fall asleep with boredom. If the first of the book is power packed, then make the middle explode with tension. This is the strong duct tape. Add an element of complete surprise. Let the main character have a major problem that needs solving, or maybe a secret that is threatening to come out, but the secret has to be life altering.

But make sure that it can mesh with your great ending. I did this one time and a book that started out being only around 30,000 words went over 50,000 words with a little duct tape application. Crazy, but true. I had this really great beginning that pulled you in and the ending left you breathless, but the middle was just a bunch of fluff. As I did my first read through I was almost dozing and that’s not good. I sat down and spread out the beginning and ending, then totally restructured my characters. I added a whole new dimension to them that took them on an adventure that meshed well with the ending and soon I had a complete story that I was proud to hit the publish button on.

So, get you some duct tape and pull that story together. If you use the right duct tape it will hold together nicely.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Lost in my characters

Have you ever lost yourself in your characters? I think all writers do at one time or another. What’s crazy is I was talking with someone the other day and started to tell them something that happened to a friend and then I realized it had happened to a character in my book. I just shut my mouth and decided to get my head on straight before I talked again. Maybe that’s why most writer’s choose the life of a recluse.

Sometimes when I’m writing I get so lost in my characters world that I have to readjust to my own life. It’s a fact that you have to get into your characters head in order to write a believeable character. If you don’t get involved with the character how can you even begin to tell their story. it would be like writing about someone you’ve never met or seen. It’s almost impossible.

For me I like to write a character bio on all the main characters. That way everytime they do something new, then I write it down so that my characters stay true to form. This helps when writing a series where the characters appear in several books. Oh and for goodness sakes make sure you note ages and names. That’s so embarassing when your editor asks who the new character is midway of the book and you realize you accidentally changed their name. Yep, been there done that.

Lately I’ve been lost in the 1800’s while writing Emma Rose. I’m really excited about this new installment in the Women Of Magnolia Hill Saga. But I do have to make sure I keep up with the times that I’m writing in. Emma Rose has taken over my brain, so I need to get back to her story. I’ll be revealing the cover really soon.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…