Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Live Life; Follow Your Dreams…

Today I turn 46! Wow, it’s hard to believe I’m almost half a century old. But I don’t feel 46 and I sure don’t act it. Actually most people say I act 10 but that’s another story for another day. I live life and enjoy it immensely. We’re only give one so live it. Many people tell me I don’t get out and do things enough, but the truth is I live my life the way I love to live it, by following my dreams. No I don’t go alot of places and do a lot of things outside of my job, my writing, the Church and my family, but that’s the way I like it. Am I a hermit? No, because the definition of a hermit is someone who lives their lives in complete seclusion from the outside world. I do leave my house occasionally.

How do I follow my dreams? Well for one thing I have a phenomenal life with a great family and wonderful friends. I follow my call to serve my Lord, Jesus Christ by ministering to children, I love Accounting and get to work everyday doing just that and then there’s my writing. I followed my dream and get to write romance novels which has been my dream for more years than I want to count. Do you live your dream? If not, get to it, because we’re not promised tomorrow and today is only 24 hours.

As far as acting my age, not a chance. I don’t feel my age so why act it. If you act your age you’ll get old before you need to. I love to giggle, cry, laugh out loud, share my joy, sit in the floor with the children and sing, cartoons, children’s movies, and so many more things, not to mention extra marshmallows in my hot chocolate. Oh and sprinkles on my cookies, doughnuts, and cake, did I mention I love sweets!

Do you live life to the fullest? It doesn’t take a lot of money to live life. All you need is a dream, a desire to follow it and a supportive family. I stop and smell the roses, do you?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Writing in layers, like our lives…

As I sit and ponder writing, life and the many things we do, I see the layers of it all. Layers are all around us. We have the family layer, life layer, work layer, faith layer and so many more layers it’s crazy. As writers we have even more layers than most.

Some days my layers overlap and I have to push them apart so that I don’t get overloaded. Some layers are heavier than others but in the end they’re what makes us who we are. My writer layers come in multiples, sometimes when my writer layers overlap I get knocked to the wayside. That’s when my mind can’t stay on one story and the characters start running over one another.

Do my layers of life and writing run into one another? Yes they do. I’ve seen many days when I struggled with the writing layers, but that’s what makes a writer work harder. As the characters run around trying to get heard, I wrangle them into the stories that flow out of my fingers. The layers of a story unfold and then a new layer starts. Oh the life of a writer’s mind.

How many layers do you have? If you peel them back carefully can you find your true self. As for me, when I peeled back my writer layer I found myself. I hadn’t realized that I needed that layer peeled back. For many years I left that layer piled under so many life layers and once I revealed it I started a fresh start. My writer layer has brought me into a new world of wonder and other worlds.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Over worked? Over stressed? Write it out!

Some days are just hard to get through. You sit behind your desk and wonder if you’ll live through the stress of the day. You’ve gone far past your normal time to get off, but you keep going. Well, what are you doing about it?

For me I’ve worked really hard over the last twenty years building my accounting business. It’s been really hard and I’ve put in a lot of long hours. When I was younger it was nothing to put in 12 hours a day, then go home and put in a couple of hours cooking and doing laundry. No problem back then, but the older I get the less I want to spend long hours behind a desk. I guess that comes with age, not sure…

About 5 years ago my stress level was at the breaking point. I was spending a lot of time in my office making sure everyone was happy. I spent a lot of time making sure everyone in my life was happy, but I wasn’t happy. I was overworked and overstressed. One day I sat down and did a inventory of my life. Why was I miserable? Duh! I was the reason I was so unhappy. I was trying to please everyone but myself. Get real with yourself and realize you probably do the same thing yourself.

I took a couple of days and went through my office, clearing the backlogs that hindered my organization. As I was clearing it all out I ran up on some floppy disks, yes I said floppy disks, and they were filled with manuscripts that were unfinished. Also, my assistant found the printed copies and asked to take them home. She came back the next morning with so much excitement that it was contagious.

I picked up the manuscripts and read them that night. The excitement surged in me and I knew my new path to a happier me. I began going through the manuscripts and working out the details. Suddenly I had a purpose again. I could put all my stress into my writing. I wrote it out. It cleared my head. Every night after work I’d sit with my laptop and write. It was calming. 

So, if you’re overstressed, then let it go to writing. If you don’t write novels or have a desire to do so, just start a journal. Write your daily stress out and leave it in the journal. Believe me, my stress level is so much better and I know I’m easier to live with 🙂

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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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…

 


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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. 

 


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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 🙂


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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…