Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Time to recharge for new year!

Ok, the holidays are over so it’s time to buckle down. As an Accountant it’s time to close out the year on all my clients, do W-2’s and 1099″s. Not to mention the start of Tax Season… But as a writer it’s time to buckle down and get out more manuscripts, clean out my work to be done file (It’s rather large 🙂 ) and get all my writing expenses together.

You may be saying oh nooooo… But if you have a method of doing this it helps. I’m here to help. The first thing you need to do is sit down at your work area and declutter. Clutter clouds the mind, or so they say. Funny thing is I know my clutter well and can tell you where anything and everything is in my clutter. 

Ok, once the clutter is somewhat organized make sure all your invoices, papers and such are filed in their correct files. This makes tax time so much easier. What if you didn’t print all your invoices off your email, well now’s time to declutter your email. I always forget to print those pesky things off email, because once they get to the bottom of the list they’re forgotten. So, print all your invoices and remove them from the email. It will make your system run smoother too…

I like to sit down and get all my royalty reports off the many sites I’m on. This takes a moment, but well worth it. You need to know what you can expect in 1099’s. Yes, people, royalties are considered income. I’ve been asked this question multiple times, but writing is a business, so run it as such.

Then sit down and separate all your miscellaneous files such as donations, medical, and office expenses. So many people miss out on tax deductions because they just simply don’t want to take the time to get the paperwork out, but I consider it money in my pocket and who doesn’t like that. Just plan an afternoon in front of the fire sorting paperwork. That’s how I do my own paperwork. I can spread out and have multiple piles. 

Don’t forget any equipment you might have purchased during 2013. Did you get a new laptop, printer, keyboard, mouse, well you know where I’m going with that. Also subscriptions, yep that subscription to the writers magazine is deductible to a writer 🙂 Then of course you have royalties paid to photo sites, yep bet you forgot about those didn’t you?

Then you have all those little expenses that we often forget such as postage, advertising, long distance calls to editors, agents or such as that. Don’t forget any programs you bought that help your writing. They can be costly and are deductible.

These are just a couple of things. Once you’ve cleaned out those packed files or drawers, start the new year off right by setting up a filing system and keep it straight. When you pay bills, or order something online, print that invoice right then and file it, deleting the email. This helps next January be a little less stressful.

I do hope everyone had a great 2013 and look forward to a blessed 2014. 

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…

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When the bloom makes way for the leaf

As most of you know, I’m an accountant. This is my busy time of the year with tax season in full swing. My office is beside my house which is great. I have a flower bed nestled among the trees in front of the office. The big draw to the flower bed is a forsythia bush or yellow bell to most. I raised it from a cutting that my grandmother gave me of hers back when we first moved in our new home around 19 years ago. The bush has been in her yard for more years than she could count. 

When I look at this bush I think of her. She’s been in Heaven for over 12 years but every year when the bush blooms I think of her. I think of the precious heirloom in it’s full beauty.

As I watched the bush flowing lightly in the breeze yesterday I marveled at the tiny yellow blooms that were still hanging on among the vibrant green leaves. It made me smile as I thought about how this process is similar to writing.

You may be saying what? Think about it. As writers we start with the bare limbs, then as the bud of a story blooms forth we get the story started. Then comes the full bloom of the work, the beauty. But the final is the nurtured green leaf that is the finished product, which holds on. But a lot of the time the bloom holds on for dear life, not letting us get to the finished product completed until it’s the right time.

As always good writing and May God Bless You…


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Friday night and smiling :)

Well I made it through another week. Thanks to all the well wishes I’ve received. I’m feeling much better, but still a little stuffy. I’m excited for the weekend. Not planning much of anything but some time for myself somehow among the  tax returns, my son’s shot gun practice and house cleaning.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Friday night and remember to smile. It’s the weekend and God has given us in Georgia a beautiful weekend. Get out and enjoy the outdoors if you can.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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When a program rules you…

For those that don’t know what I do to make a living, I’m an Accountant. Now you know one of the reasons I write, it’s to get away for a few minutes or hours. Well today’s post is a rant and rage so get ready, here it goes.

Since tax season is in full swing my desk has piled up with tax returns to be completed. Since I had to help with a IRS audit a couple of weeks ago, I’ve started out behind. Well, now the tax program I’ve used for the last ten or more years has major issues. It’s slow loading every return. It’s a complete nightmare. 

This weekend was going to be a catch up and clean off desk weekend. I even put up my writing for the whole weekend. The program has progressively gotten worse and slower. It’s so frustrating watching the spinning wheel. You may be saying, well have you tried upgrading your ram on your computer. Yep, I even had more ram put in my laptop which is not over a year old to begin with. My computer tech told me this program is utilizing over 60% of my computers resources. He said a program shouldn’t do that especially with the laptop I have.

Well, needless to say I’m even further behind by the day. The sad thing is I have been working on three different manuscripts and my mind is filled with chapters on top of chapters of writing that is just pushing and shoving trying to get to the forefront. They were not happy when I refused to even pull them up this weekend. I did however keep a watch on sales as barnes & noble updated all weekend.

So as for my writing, don’t forget to check out my giveaway on Goodreads for “Rekindled Flame” and for a couple of days all my books are free on Smashwords during the March Ereader Campaign.

My weekend was not a bust as I had a big Children’s Ministry Meeting yesterday and was able to bring on more volunteers which helps me out. I no longer have to teach twice on Sunday mornings. The kids were good yesterday and it’s a good thing because I was unfortunately on a short tether. All this has happened on the heels of finding out one of my friends has gotten into some major legal trouble. This has troubled my mind all weekend.

So, good writing and May God Bless You…

P.S. I’m still smiling and optimistic. You know me, can’t keep me down for long. 


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Back to the living so to speak…

I guess some of you are wondering where I’ve been. Well, one of my tax clients got a nice little audit from the IRS and I’ve been elbow deep in dusty file boxes pulling out everything that they asked for and gave me a week & a half to do. During tax season it’s tough to juggle this extra work, but I managed to finish this afternoon and the audit is tomorrow morning. Please keep your fingers crossed.

As for news that bears saying, I finished “Rekindled Flames” the second book in the Flames of Love Series Sunday night. It should be completely published by Monday so I’m really excited about this. This has been one of those books that really had me in a little bit of a miff. My mind would stray in and out of the writing on this one. I love the book, but had to really work on the ending. 

If anyone would like to help on Monday with promotional social media help just send me your email address and I will gladly send you the needed promotional doo dah’s. Thanks in advance.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Taking time for ourselves…

Some might say, what does it mean to take time for myself. It’s funny when my accounting clients come into the office and see my books on the table beside my desk. At first they glance at them and then they do a double take. The look that comes over their face is priceless. What’s unsettling is they look at me seriously and say when do you have time for this? Will this affect what you do for me?

I actually laugh when they say that. I look at them and say ‘I don’t live in this office 24/7. I do have a family, a home and need time for myself. I shake my head and think don’t you take time for yourself. Why is it that people expect you to live for them? Just because I take care of your accounting does not mean that I live to do only that.

I realized last year during tax season that I was spending too much time catering to everyone but myself. I would spend 12 to 15 hours in my office working. What hit home was when one night I was pulling a late night and my hubby and son came to the office to visit me. That’s what they called it. I felt horrible. Then my doctor (A good friend) told me I needed to start taking more time for myself. He reminded me I was middle aged. I do not consider 44 middle aged, but evidently he does.

So I started right then and there staying in the office less, taking on less responsibilities and living life. God gave me this wonderful life and He didn’t promise me tomorrow. So why was I spending my life behind a desk. The next night I was in the house and cooking dinner when my family got home from work and school. My husband walked back out the door and came back in. He said he thought he went to the wrong house. My son was excited to have me home for a change. It took five years off my life.

Then I started publishing my books. That made me start looking at my future. I know I can’t  do taxes and accounting forever. I love my job don’t get me wrong, but tax preparation can be down right frustrating with the changing laws and constant issue drama. So I decided to start making little changes like turning over more stuff to my assistant. Some work days we spend the whole day just searching ideas for new book covers or research of the next book. That’s something I would never have done this time last year. It has helped my health, my home life, my work life, and especially my sanity. Well, maybe not my sanity, I’m not a sane person, but who is if you really get down to it 🙂

So start today, this minute thinking of yourself. Give yourself some time. Start spending some time each week just for yourself. Take a bubble bath, read a good book, take a leisurely walk, play a game with your family, watch a sappy movie or just sit and watch the clouds go by. But live like today is it. Live like you have no tomorrow. Love more intensely, take romance to another level and hug your child more than just when they are leaving for school. (Hint, if you have a teenager it might be met with a ‘really mom’ but do it anyway.)

As always, good writing and May God Bless You!!!


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Tax Season over tomorrow!!!

Well, another tax season is coming to a close. As I sit here in my office putting the finishing touches on yet another procrastinators return I wonder “why do I do this every year?” I guess because I love accounting. There is something about working with numbers and solving problems that just pulls me in. I do wish the IRS would get a handle on how they want to handle Accountants. They are constantly changing things and every year my tax books get thicker and thicker. It can get a little hectic around the office.

I guess that’s why I’m enjoying writing so much. I get to lose myself in another world for a little while every day. Well almost every day. Sometimes I can’t wait to get lost in another person’s life. I will be sitting at my desk figuring out plots and what will happen next. It’s so sad the life and mind (or lack of) of a writer. We are always churning out a story from everything we see. I can see someone on the street that is intriguing and BAM! a story comes to mind. I know, I have a problem, but if it publishes and sells books…

I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday evening, or what’s left of it. Tomorrow it is back to school for my son. He has been out on Fall break. Man that clock is going to be terrible sounding at six in the morning. Oh well, life goes on. Good writing and My God Bless you tonight!