Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

This WordPress.com site confirms all things are possible through God!


Leave a comment

Behind the Books

As a reader you don’t know what goes into the books you read. You walk in a book store or browse through the lists of books on your computer, but have you ever thought about what happens behind the scenes to make that book that you hold in your hand possible. Well, let me enlighten you.

As a writer I can tell you there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make that book real. It’s a work in process, it’s the heart of the writer, and it’s the work of usually more than one person.

Steps to the birth of a book:

1: The inspiration – Without the idea or inspiration for the storyline, there’s no book. The author’s ideas, memories, or just inspirational thought puts the story together. If no idea comes about, how could you have a book. 

2: Now for me, the next step is the outline. Some authors don’t outline their work, but I have to do an outline as soon as the inspiration hits. For me storylines comes in huges waves. Most of them I know the beginning and the ending, but have to fill in the middle. Some come in a rush of completeness. 

3: Now is the time to put words to work. Fill in the outline. Make the story flow and ebb with the emotions, characters and time that it takes to make a story come alive. This process is the longest part to me. The inspiration can come in an instant, but to put it to play takes a little bit of time. Some writers could take years to put a story to paper and others on a mere week or two.

4: So your story is on it’s way to birth, but it needs something else. It needs a name. Wow, that’s a hard one sometimes. A couple of my books were named before the story was written, but most of the time the name comes well into the books pregnancy. But when it hits you, it’s automatic. You just know, yeah, that’s it. But at sometimes you struggle with the name. This is a big selling point of your book.

5: Ok, so you’ve got the story, the outline, the name, but what else is there. What about a cover? Every book needs a cover. Some covers are simple, yet expressive, some are extraordinarily elaborate. Your cover is what can stop a reader in their browse for a book. When I browse through a book store, more than anything, the first thing that grabs me is the cover. I’ll stop and check it out if the cover entices me, draws me in.

6: Well, the cover draws you in, but the description can make you say yes. This is the hardest step to me. How do you put a 300 page book into 400 words, give or take? It’s almost impossible. I have sat for hours working on this very thing. It impacts the sale of your work so you have to make it just right. I’ve actually published a book and then six months down the road went back in and rewrote the description. It actually started selling after the change. Amazing…

7: Well, now you think, you’re ready for publishing. No! A huge, wopping, No! It’s time for editing. Not just your read over, get someone else, maybe two or three others and preferrable people that are critical. This is very important. If the words don’t flow right, maybe you don’t see it, but someone not familiar with the story can. This is your baby, don’t you want it to be the best it can be. Don’t take constructive criticism to heart, but use it for good. It can make the difference between selling 5 or 500.

8: Well, it’s polished up and so shiny it gleams. What now? Well now it’s time to publish. Whether you go with a traditional publisher or you self publish, it’s a big step. 

9: Here we go, it’s time to advertise. This is a hard thing to do when you have to keep your name active on social media and everywhere a reader could find you. But during this time you’re trying to write other books and most of us work a full time job, run a household and do everything else that comes with life. A writer’s life is very busy. Remember that when you send fanmail and don’t immediately get an answer. That author may be shoulder deep in edits, stories or advertising.

10: Final step, not hardly, but the final one for this blog. Sit back, drink a cup of coffee and enjoy the glow of having a finished novel.

Maybe you have a few more steps to add. Hope this helps if you’re new to writing or even a veteran. Just enjoy the process.

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

 


Leave a comment

Time… A writer’s Nemesis…

Time. We all wish for more time in the day. I don’t know how many times I’ve been working on something and wished for 25 hours in a day instead of 24. Someone told me the other day that I had too many irons in the fire, but I don’t agree.

I love to be busy. It’s a good thing since I’m a wife, mother, Accountant, Children’s Minister, Author and self publisher. Wow, what a list 🙂 Sometimes it’s overwhelming, but then again it’s rewarding. 

Everything I do is because of a passion. I’m not the type of person to jump into something that I don’t like to do. Some aspects of my passions are not my favorite things to do, but that’s the nature of the beast. 

As a writer you need a little time everyday to put pen to paper or fingers to keys. I love writing and don’t always have those precious minutes to write. I usually write at night when my son is watching television or playing his musical instruments. My husband is usually reading or watching television as I tap away. Some people say, how can you write when the television is blaring in the background, well it’s easy. I go into a world of my own when I write. It’s really scary sometimes how immersed I get.

So, make a plan. Sit down and work out a schedule of your passions. Make sure you give ample time to each one. That’s my goal this week to set up a schedule for writing. I’m going to set aside a little time each day to get that done. It may sound crazy, but in my busy life I need this to stay sane…

First and foremost I have to make sure to put in time for my family and especially for my faith. I have a prayer time everyday which helps me to get through my day. If you don’t you need to try it. It sets the tone for the day.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you…

P.S. Continue to pray for Oklahoma. 

 


1 Comment

Cleaning out and clearing the mind…

Now that tax season is mostly over, I’m consumed with cleaning my office. Of course I have a lot of filing to do and general cleaning. My office literally looks like a storm blew through and that’s being nice 🙂

When I do a thorough cleaning it always makes me think clearer. As I clean and listen to songs on Pandora I think of the manuscripts that have been crying out for attention for a couple of months. Things pop up in my head and I keep my trusty notebook handy for just that reason. As I listen to songs they give me a feeling of nostalgia over the past year. I’m coming up on the anniversary of my first books publishing. It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year almost.

I’m excited about having the time to write now. It’s high time I finish my works in progress and clear out my mind for new projects. So if you’re having writers block or feel overwhelmed, then clean out an area that has been haunting you for a while. See if it doesn’t give you a clearer head. Just seeing the top of my desk makes me smile 🙂

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Boy it feels good to be back 🙂


2 Comments

I’ve climbed out!

Well, if any of you were wondering about my lack of blog posts, tax season took me hostage. I was snowed in and weighed down in 1040’s and paperwork stacked all around me, caging me in. I worked until midnight last night and filed too many extensions to even count.

I’m back in full force with book advertising, writing and blogging. Hope you’re ready for the onslaught of me telling it like it is in my life. 

My question is this. Why do we let work take over our live? Deadlines? My son was so sweet all weekend and last night as I worked feverishly to finish. He would sit in my office playing games on his IPOD. I guess he figured if he was going to spend time with me, that was where it would be. My hubby refused to go to bed last night until I was done.

Hope everyone has been well. If you get a chance go on over to my friend Rosie Amber’s A-Z Challenge. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


2 Comments

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…


3 Comments

What’s in a name?

Good Monday morning to all my friends. It was a wonderful weekend here in the deep south. We had wonderful, sunny weather. I’d planned on doing a lot of writing, but only got in a couple of chapters. Guess that’s better than nothing. 

As I was doing my normal morning tour of my book sites, I started thinking of book names and how hard it is to actually name your work. So here are five things to think of when trying to name your work…

1. The name has to be somewhat close to what your book is about. You can’t name your book “The book of numbers” and the book be totally about letters. The name needs to at least bring about the book theme. Nothing is more disappointing than to pick up a book with an interesting name and find out the book has nothing to do with the name.

2. You have to add interest. Most people look at the title and pick the book based on the title. A lot of people don’t even read the description if the title is eye catching.

3. Be creative. Don’t just go with the first thing that pops in your head. Look up different ways to word what you want to say. Get out the dictionary and look up different words that mean the same thing.

4. Do you want the name to be just one word or several words? One word titles have to pack a huge punch because that one word has to draw in potential readers.

5. This is what I normally do. Google the name you come up with. If several books have the same name then you probably want to make a few changes. When someone googles your book name you want them to find you, not everybody else too.

Hope this helps in some way. Have a great Monday!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


4 Comments

Have I gotten too comfortable with my life?

Do you ever sit back and look at your life? I’ve been doing that a lot lately. I know that my life is way too busy most of the time. I’m a wife, mother, accountant, children’s minister, and now a published author. Sometimes I don’t have time to think straight, well that’s if I could think straight 🙂

Last night was Valentine’s and here is a rundown of my night. I worked in my office which is beside my home, until 5:30. I finally walked across the driveway to the house and gave my hubby his card and chocolate covered caramels. I gave my son a reese heart and box of m & m’s, plus a card. Then I made bacon, egg and cheese toasted sandwiches. I know really fancy for Valentines dinner, but it was scrumptious. Then I grabbed my laptop and worked on tax returns while we watched Duck Dynasty. (Our new favorite show.)

I know this sounds really unromantic, but it was actually nice. We sat as a family together, even though I was working, our son was on youtube, and my hubby was playing with his new I-phone. To me this is a great night. 

But when I turned my laptop off and gathered all the paperwork back into the carry box, I thought about my life. I realized something that I’ve known for a while, I’m set in my ways. I’m happy just sitting home instead of going out to dinner with friends. I don’t care to go out, going to the store has gotten to be a chore. I work, I write, and I do my ministry, but I don’t do much of anything else. My husband says he feels the same way. Have we lost touch with the world. I don’t know if we’re just in a rut or what.

I’ve been struggling with a decision, which I won’t say what just yet, don’t want to jinx it. I’m feeling somewhat lead to make a change in my business that will surprise some people and some will say it’s about time. If I do this it will open up a lot of opportunities to further my writing.

So, as my friends, pray, cross fingers and I promise I’ll let you in on the secret really soon. I’m waiting a little bit longer to make the decision. I’ve discussed this with my husband and my assistant. They’re both very supportive. I’ve also let a couple of personal friends in on it for their input. I really think it will be a positive step in my life. So in the coming weeks I will let you in on some of the changes to come. 

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

 


1 Comment

Monday, Monday, Monday.

Well it’s Monday again. Wasn’t it just Monday yesterday? Time really flies when you’re busy as little bee. Well that’s me, busy little bee. It’s tax time again and my desk is piling up with returns just staring at me waiting to be sent, but since the IRS has decided to put us off the returns just sit and wait.

As for my writing, I’m doing as much as I can at night. My manuscript that I’ve been trying to finish is almost ready. The editing has been fun. I love reading over my work. It gives me a chance to change and expand on different areas. Amazing how one change can turn into an extra paragraph.

Hope everyone is well. My son is home sick today with an ulcer on his throat so I’m back and forth from the office to the house. Good thing my office is beside my house. Have a great Monday and remember Monday is just another day in this to love one another, read another book and enjoy what God has given us.

As always good writing and May God Bless you…


1 Comment

Writing from the hip!!!

 

Have you ever knew exactly what you wanted to write, but when you started putting it into print it changed in your mind? Well that is where my new piece of work is at. I’ve had the 2nd book in my “Flames of Love” series in my mind for two months. It’s been poking me all that time trying to get out. I finally sat down in August and wrote an outline so that my other books would not overtake it.

Sometimes the mind of a writer strays from it’s original mark and starts up an uncharted road. That is how is seems to me. I sat down yesterday morning to start “Rekindled Flames” which comes after my published book “Tender Flames”. It started off in the same general direction that I wanted it to go, but one of my characters went off on a sudden tirade and there you have it. The outline went askew.

I opened it up when I got to my office and had my assistant and editor read what I had so far which was almost seven pages in an hour and a half. She turned to me and smiled. That is always a good sign. She said she liked the new road and could not wait to read more. As I wrote last night and some this morning I decided I would throw out the outline and write from the hip. Sometimes that is just where the story has to go. We will see if it is a road that leads to the same end, but if it doesn’t it is from the heart. So….. To my fellow bloggers, have a wonderful day and as always, good writing.