Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Never Give Up Your Dream…

Well, the SYTYCW2013 emails have been sent out and I didn’t receive one. I’m not sad or mad or upset, just gives me more drive. There was 640 really good entries and the editors had to choose only 50 to go on to the next step. I don’t envy their job. But you never know, my work was read by an editor at Harlequin.

I had a really nice message from a fellow author that’s published with Harlequin and she gave support and her experience. She entered last year and she too did not get picked. Well guess what, she still heard from one of the editors and now has published a couple of books through Harlequin. They told her that all though for the contest they can only pick 50 that doesn’t mean that they don’t look seriously at the others. 

So, I still have hope. Anyone that knows me wil know that I’m resilient. Writing is a dream passion of mine and it’s been such a crazy year and a half. I’ve been featured in two magazines and several blogs. Also this week I’ve been honored with being featured as the Must Read of the week in the Southern Writers Magazine blog. Here’s the link: http://southernwritersmagazine.blogspot.com/. Scroll down and I’m on the right. Then when I was on a Children’s Ministry website getting a game for last night I noticed a Barnes and Noble advertisement. I had three of my books featured in the ad along with some other great reads. Needless to say I did a happy dance. So I’m still on a high right now.

As we move on from the drama of the contest wait, there’s always some writing contest going on and our name is out there. Let’s focus on what we as writers do best, let’s write. You never know when that call might come in saying, “We want you to write for us.” 

Good writing and May God Bless You…

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Researching Romance

As a writer of romance it’s not always easy to just put your thoughts in the computer and be done with it. Even a run of the mill romance needs a little research. Have you done your research?

With my newest book “Victoria” I had to do a lot of research. I printed 3 different Civil War Timelines. Each one had a little different description that went along with the timing of the story line. It’s amazing how a reader can pick up on even the smallest misstep in regards to history. I made sure the time and date was correct with aspects concerning the war itself. 

A fellow author friend wrote a medical romance. She laughed telling me she felt like she was studying for the medical exams. Before she started the book, she wrote down her outline and got in touch with a doctor friend. She then told him what the book had in it medical wise and he gave her several books that would help make the medical part look real. 

Another author was writing a thriller/murder mystery. She had to study several serial killer cases with the local police. They were more than happy to help her with the research. As she has a weak stomach she said a lot of the reading was hard to get through, but she made sure she did it on an empty stomach.

I’ve even researched romance itself. There’s a lot on it if you look around. It helps when you are coming up with story lines. You don’t want to write about what everybody is writing about. If everything coming out is about cowboys, well, maybe put cowboys but give it a different spin. Make your writing stand out.

So the next time you pick up a romance novel, think about the hard work the author went through to get it where it is. Especially when you look at the price. So many people want them for free or nearly free. That’s nice but the author put their heart, soul and hard work into that book you’re holding. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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“Victoria” is up for preorder!

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My latest book will be officially released on September 30th, but you can preorder it for $1 cheaper right now at these links:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/victoria-stephanie-hurt/1116875133?ean=2940045251976 & https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/353698

The press release was also released yesterday at http://prlog.org/12211010

The preorder cost is only $3.99, but after September 30th the cost will be $4.99.

Here’s a little bit about Victoria:

“Victoria” is part of the “Women Of Magnolia Hill” Saga by Stephanie Payne Hurt. It starts before the Civil War and is based around Atlanta, Georgia. As the war talk escalates Miles Slaughter knows his daughter Victoria needs to find a husband. Victoria is not going to marry just anyone. Her heart is set on finding the love of her life. While Miles is in Boston on business he meets Zane Camden, a shipping company owner. He’s impressed with the young man.

When he brings him home to meet his daughter, sparks fly and her anger flares. Miles tries to gather support from his four sons, but they know their sister. Zane can’t believe how beautiful she is and her anger only makes his interest stronger. Will he be able to win her heart before war is declared?

This is a romance with suspense, family, and interesting characters.It’s hard not to fall in love with Victoria and her family. This is part one of the saga that will tell the stories of Magnolia Hill Plantation from before the Civil War and go through to present day. Find out through the books what happens to the Slaughter family and their descendents.

 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 

 


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The Editing Process – What?

Well, I’ve been busy with the Romancing September Across The World Blog Tour that has been going on since September 1st along with my friend Rosie Amber. It’s been pretty awesome to say the least. The 30 authors in the lineup are great and everyone needs to go over and check them out.

As for my writing, well let’s just say it’s been an interesting couple of weeks. As you may remember I had slated for Victoria to be released on September 15th, well it’s actually going to be September 30th. I had a issue with, dare I say, Editing 🙂

When I’m writing I normally step back every so many pages and reread that section. It’s just a habit I have and it keeps me focused on the work ahead and what was behind me. Well, this one, somewhere around the middle I got so into the writing that I shirked that habit and kept on writing. Not good…

While I was doing my first edit I did my usual spell check to start with. As I meandered down the list of the usual extra spaces and misspelled words, I found almost a whole paragraph of just random letters. I was perplexed for a moment, then as I read the paragraph above and below I remembered that section was from one of my late night writing sessions. Guess I was writing and not actually looking at my work. I’m bad about that when I’m really into it. Not a good habit.

Well, Spellcheck was complete and I began to read the story. I had the usual things to change like wording that when read again did not quite work and scene issues. Then I ran up on a funny little mishap. For some reason my character Victoria had suddenly gotten electricity in her home, keep in mind this book is based during the Civil War, no electricity in this home. But sure enough, she flipped on the light switch. I did a double take on that one. Then I laughed hysterically, it had been a long day, at my goof. She should have lit a lantern, not flipped on the light switch. Really, she was the first to have electricity in her home, no not really. 

As I’ve stated in several of my blogs, editing is a must. If I’d have not edited and sent that out, well let’s just say, it might have gathered a few sarcastic reviews. Editing is a tedious process, but if you do it while writing and then as soon as you finish it’s an easier task. 

So, learn from my goof ups, edit, edit, edit. Oh, and then edit some more. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You!

Here’s a couple of links to check out:

http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-2t6 Day 5 of our blog tour from Rosie

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/353698 


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Victoria, Official Release September 15th

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Well, it’s official, Victoria will be released September 15th. It will be available for preorder on Smashwords.com, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple and couple of other sites after September 1st. 

I’m really excited about this one. I’ll be doing a giveaway on Goodreads in the next two weeks ahead of the release. Also, will be doing a ebook giveaway, but those details will be released before the end of this week. Keep watching.

If you like historical romance, I hope you like this one. I’ve had it in the works for a while and am feeling a little release of breath as the release date is official. Finishing the final edits this week. 

As far as other releases, the first edition of my newsletter was released yesterday. If you want to get on board for September, please message me. So far so good.

But back to my release. I’ll keep you updated on the upcoming events tied to the release. 

Don’t forget to keep your eyes open starting September 1 for the start of the Romancing September Across The World Blog Tour. Go over to Rosie’s page and check out her part of the tour also at 

http://rosieamber.wordpress.com/

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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How do you handle writer’s block?

It’s a mystery that doesn’t have a rhyme or reason. As a writer it’s devastating to say the least. The symptoms can vary from staring into space with fingers poised over keyboard, the sudden appetite for social media, and even in some instances headache with slight nausea (usually this is when deadlines loom over your head).

I remember in high school needing to write a paper on my favorite movie, Gone With The Wind. I thought great, I know this movie inside out. This will be a piece of cake. Of course I procratinated and wait until the last couple of days to do the work. I sat down with pen and paper, then it hit, writer’s block. What? I knew this movie, how could I not figure out what to write? This should be simple. But writer’s block has no mercy. I finally finished the paper at the last minute, but it wasn’t my best work. My teacher was disappointed because she knew how much I loved the movie. 

It’s the same with authors. We know the story that needs to be written, but the words just won’t come. I had that problem last week. I’m working on “Victoria” and it’s a historical romance. I started this book last year and I knew exactly what I wanted it to be about. 

Well, as writer’s block doesn’t pick and choose, it started off really well, but around 5000 words in, bam nothing. Then I picked it back up over the summer and got to almost 30,000 words and here it was. Like a monster in the closet, looming there, threatening my concentration. Amazing.

I’ve often talked about using outlines. I have one for this book. It was no help as the block was too thick. I listened to my writing music. I watched historical romances to help spur me on, but nothing helped. The headache loomed, the pressure between my eyes, it was terrible. I could see the story in my mind, but to put it in words, nothing. 

I struggled, I dreamed about it, I worried. Well, after a lot of surfing social media, staring out the window at nothing, it finally hit me. I’d been working so hard to finish it before the end of August, that I’d blocked myself. Meaning I’d pressured my brain into overdrive. What with work, home, everything in life, I’d put too much pressure on the story. 

I knew what I had to do. I had to step back, take a breath. That’s when I did what I said I’d not do. I put the manuscript to the side and worked on something else. Well, when I put it out of sight and mostly out of my brain, I was able to cleanse myself of the writer’s block. It worked. I was only away from it a couple of days when it all flooded in and took over. 

WIth a sigh of relief I’m almost completely done with the first run. It’s funny, all of my books have meant something to me, but this one means something different. It’s like a renewal of spirit. I have a great feeling about this one. The planned release is September 15th. It should be available for preorder around the end of August or first of September. I’ll put out the specific date as soon as it’s available.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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How does social media help writers?

Good morning. Getting back to normal since son went back to school this morning. As I sit here going through all my social media sites I have to reflect on the last year. It’s been a crazy ride for sure.

To start with, before I published my first book in May 2012, I only used email and texting when communicating. I learned quickly that as a published author you must use social media almost daily to keep up with changing climates. With this I mean that if you don’t keep your name fresh in front of people it loses it’s luster.

I did a short experiment the last couple of weeks. I went in a different times and tweeted my books to see if I gathered a result. Then I put them out on Facebook and Tumbler. What did I learn? Well I learned a lot. 

When I tweeted the links to my books listed on Smashwords.com, I actually saw a spike in page views. I love this about Smashwords.com. I can keep up with views and really do a great analysis of what works and what doesn’t. I then did the same through my Amazon links. The bad thing with Amazon, you can’t see how many go over to look at the book, you just have to see how sales spike. I only received a few sales through that one.

I then posted several Smashword.com links on my Facebook page. All of a sudden sales spiked, but on Amazon, not Smashwords it’s self. Now on Smashwords it could show up later under one of the subsidiary sites, but not the main site. I even tried this with Allromanceebooks.com and sold one book. 

So, with this I did notice a spike in views through tweeting and Facebook. Some analysts say don’t tweet about your books very often as you’ll lose followers. Well, I didn’t tweet about my books for several days and guess what I lost several followers. Then when I did tweet about my books I gained several new followers. Not sure, but I think it went in the other direction.

As I’m getting ready to announce the release date for “Victoria” the first book in my new Historical Romance Saga “The Women Of Magnolia Hill”, I’m hoping to see a great social media presence. This is my first book that I’m going to go through all the pre release hoopla. I can’t wait to get started. Maybe even as soon as this weekend. I plan to also participate in the new preorder option on Smashwords. Would love to do it on Amazon, but not sure how that works. If anyone knows, please let me know.

Try a social media study on your book sales and let me know how it goes. It might change your views on social media advertising. As for me, I’m headed over to do some tweeting 🙂

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…