Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Outlines, Notebooks & other such things…

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It’s Saturday morning and I’m ready for a little rest and restoration. Of course, you know I’ll be writing, it’s my Saturday thing to do. When you run a busy accounting office, most of your intense writing comes on your days off.

Take notes... You'll need them later...

Now with intense writing sessions, you have to use your time wisely. This is where detailed notes and outlines come in handy. When I sit down to write, I like to have everything at my fingertips. If I’m writing a book, say, for instance, Breakwater Lane, I want to have my character information close at hand. Why? Well, it helps me to just look at the character list beside me. If I forget a secondary characters name, I just glance at the list and keep going. But without this list, well, I’d have to go back to where I last wrote about them to check. That takes away valuable writing time.

Outlines are helpful…

I’m an outliner, most of the time. When a story comes into my head, I like to sit down and outline it while it’s fresh. If the story comes in bits and pieces as some do, then I just write down the basics of what has come to my head. As with Sky Ridge Series, I have in my head what each of the three books will be covering, but without the outline, I’d overtake the story from the next book. I want to make sure that each book covers its own situation.

Don’t let a lack of organization throw you off track…

Some people say that outlines mess them up and that’s ok. Everyone has their own style. It’s the way we’re made. But for me, outlines keep me focused on the story at hand. You might ask if I’ve ever changed a story from the outline? Yes, several times. Take, for instance, Finding the Right Time. I had it completely outlined, but my characters would not behave and they went off script. If you’re not a writer, that might sound a little off, but it’s true. Characters can have a mind of their own and they go off down the rabbit hole, leaving the outline in the dust. That’s when you pick up the outline, dust it off, then adjust as needed. It works, believe me.

Notebooks… Notebooks… Notebooks…

Now, I have notebooks for each of my series. I keep details about characters that are in each book. That way I keep up with who died, who left to never be heard of again and such as that. On my stand-alone’s, I don’t always have a dedicated notebook, just an outline with notes in the margins. I put the characters at the top, then the outline. But the notes in the margins can be added characters, character flaws or just location descriptions. Anything you think will be needed later, add it.

It only takes a second to lose that train of thought…

So, to sum up, my rambling from above, if you feel disoriented or unorganized when writing, it’s normal. But there are ways to make it easier on yourself. These are just a couple of the things I do.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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As we grow older…

Good morning! Last night I attended my 30-year class reunion. I don’t feel like it’s been 30 years since we were all crazy high school students just making our way through class and life. But the funny thing is, it has been.

We all grow older, but the heart stays the same in many ways. As I spoke with everyone last night, I realized, we haven’t changed that much in 30 years. Everyone has the same smile, the same laugh, just maybe a few added wrinkles from many years of life and laughter. But at the heart of it, we’re all still the same people we were 30 years ago when we walked across that field, scared to death of what lay ahead, but sure we’d make the world a better place.

It’s crazy the memories that flood in when you get together with people from your past. Some are good, others sad, but mostly, you remember all the many aspects of those years together. Most of us were in school together all the way through, which meant we spent a lot of time together. Even after all these years, we know one another and nothing can erase the memories we’ve shared, even time.

So, now you know I’m a sap, not that you didn’t know that already. And yes, as I watched the video of our pictures scrolling by, I had a tear dot the corner of my eye. We can’t go back to that wonderful time, except in our minds, but we can remember the days when we were fresh and new beings just trying to get by. We can remember the ones we’ve lost over the years and smile, knowing that we were part of this great thing we call life.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Friday writing and other ramblings…

Good Friday morning! We’ve almost made it to the weekend. Only a little bit longer… You can do it, I know you can.

So, it’s Friday morning and I’m getting in my word count before I get ready for my day job. I’m working on the 2nd book of the Sky Ridge Series. Since I just sent the last of Breakwater Lane to my editor for the last edits, I’m geared up to work on Promises Forgotten.

As I work on Promises Forgotten, I have to remember that this one is historical, not in current time. LOL! And with that said, I have to remember that they can’t just flip the light switch on. Yes, I did that again. I let my character walk in the room and turn the lights on. So, how do I keep from doing this…

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Yes, that’s a sticky note (the ultimate author hack), on the side of my laptop to remind me what my characters don’t have. And yes, I’ve had to go back and delete a couple of times.

While I’m on the subject of reminding, don’t forget to go to this link for a chance to win a Kindle. It’s so easy and all you have to do is share, share, share! http://lovekissedbookbargains.com/category/giveaways/preorder-giveaway/

I know, I’m rambling, but it’s Friday! So, as I finish my second cup of coffee and work toward my word count for the morning, I send my hope that you have a fantastic Friday!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 

 


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Calling all bloggers!

Hey, everyone! As the release of my newest book is coming closer and closer, I’m looking for some bloggers that would be willing to do a post about it or even a review. I’d also like to reciprocate by doing a post for you. If you’re interested in helping, I’ll send you the media package that I’ve assembled.

Breakwater preorder ad

Also, enter to win a Kindle… Just go to this link and enter.

http://lovekissedbookbargains.com/category/giveaways/preorder-giveaway/

Sand background with towel, flip flops and starfish. Summer concept. Top view

Sand background with towel, flip flops and starfish. Summer concept. Top view

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 

 


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Can’t sleep…then write!

Good Monday morning! It’s rainy and dreary here in Georgia, so I’m half asleep and needing a nap…

Have you ever had a night where no matter what you did, sleep just wouldn’t come? I had one of those last night. Finally, after tossing and turning for over an hour, I got up. I wasn’t in the mood to watch television, so I wrote. It’s amazing how well your mind works in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep. I finished a chapter and started another.

As I sat in the quiet of the night, not a sound from anywhere, I wrote. Even though sleep wouldn’t come into my brain, the story flowed like a river in the rain, freely… Finally, after I got that part of the story out of my head, I was able to close my laptop, walk to the bedroom and fall asleep. Needless to say, I feel sleep deprived this morning, but I was able to further my story…

As always, good writing and May God Bless you…

 


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Coffee…Writing…More Coffee

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Good morning! Are any of you having a hard time getting awake this morning? I’m struggling after the three day weekend. It was a great holiday, but my body and mind seem to still be on vacation.

Oh well, this will be a pot of coffee morning…. I’m working on getting my word count in this morning. I finished Highlander’s Son last week and hope to finish Lacey’s Choice this week. Both of these books have been in the works for a couple of months, so I’m trying my best to get caught back up. Tax season really slammed me this year and it affected my writing like no other year has.

It doesn’t help that my two new series ‘Sky Ridge’ and ‘Wishful Harbor’ are knocking on my mind, wanting to stay inside. Every time I push them back for a day or so, they jump back in with full force and win. But this week, I plan to finish a couple of in-process manuscripts before I go back to the newest ones. Let’s just hope I do.

So, what are you working on this week?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Stepping up the game…

Good Monday morning! Wow, the weekend seemed way too short, but today is a new day. With a new day, starts a new game…

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, well, it’s promotion of our books. Look, you know as well as I do that the competition is steep. We have to make sure that our book outshines the thousands of other books in our genres. Some days it seems useless, but then the writer in me say, keep pushing.

For me, I’ve stepped up my game. How you might ask? Well, here’s how. I’ve stopped trying to be on every social media site out there. That’s just plain out exhausting and a waste of writing time trying to keep up with all of it. My main goal is to blog, keep my website interesting, and promote on a few social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Also, I’m making sure that all of my more than 30 books are on Allauthor.com. If you haven’t checked out this site, I suggest you do. You can put up to four of your books on there under the free membership and then set up automatic tweets. With as many books as I have, I went ahead and did the paid membership.

Don’t forget to build up your newsletter subscribers. I’ve met so many wonderful people through my newsletter and blog. Which if you can, keep posting several times a week. make it interesting and fun.

So, how will you step up your game?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Writing changes your life…

Ok, so it’s Thursday and the weekend is right around the corner… With that being said, what’s changed in your life since becoming a writer? A lot if it’s anything like mine. So, without any further rambling, here are some of the things that have changed…

  1. I now have a blog… The funny thing is, I used to just think of blogs as something other people did to pass the time. Now I blog almost daily and it’s so enlightening and helps promote my books, along with helping other writers.
  2. I’ve met so many wonderful people from all over the world. So many new friends…
  3. Now I have a major stress reliever. Writing helps to clear my head, literally. With all the stories and characters running through my head, I can let them out.
  4. I now have an extra income coming in, which is helpful.
  5. My writing has opened doors that had been closed before.

This is only a small number of ways my life has changed, but there are so many more.

What are some things that have changed for you?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Finding your audience…

Good morning! How do you figure out your audience? What am I talking about? Well, who reads your books? What age group? What demographic? How do I know this stuff? LOL! It’s called search and figure out.

The reason I know this is that I’ve been looking into promoting books. This is one of the questions asked: “Who is your audience?” It makes sense. So here is what my new series ‘Wishful Harbor’ brought to mind.

  1. Age group: 18 – 25 (This is just a start, but…)
  2. Loves Small Town life
  3. Loves sweet romance with a Happily Ever After
  4. Hallmark movie lover (So far we’re describing me… except the age group ;))
  5. Needs to get lost for a moment or two

Ok, so this is just a sampling, but you get the idea. The point is to steer the advertising in the direction of the above people. In other words, I’ll focus on hashtags that steer my tweets, promotions, and advertising toward this focus group.

Have you tried this concept? If so, how did it work?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…wishful harbor design


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While I wasn’t writing…

Old Notebook Paper

What a wonderful day to write! It’s rainy and a little chilly. Yes, I’m back to writing and so glad.

But what happens to me when I don’t write… What happens when tax season takes all my time and leaves none for writing… Well here goes!

1: The characters in my head go nuts. Really… They go nuts. They run around screaming and yelling, constantly! Some days I wonder if I’ll lose my mind before I can write again.

2: The untold stories are filling the space around the crazy characters. Every moment of my day is filled with thoughts of where my characters can take their lives. I name characters while I depreciate assets. Yes, one character might turn up named Asset, just saying.

3: I wonder around feeling unwhole. Does that make sense? To writers, it should. As a writer, we fill the voids with our writing and when we can’t write, it just makes a hole.

4: I’m terminally stressed when I don’t write. Writing is my stress reliever… so what happens when I can’t write, well, my stress level goes up, up, up…

5: The most important thing that happens when I can’t write is I get behind and have to catch up.

Ok, so, you get the picture. Writing is my stress reliever and it helps keep me sane in this insane world. Maybe you don’t have this problem, but I do. As an Accountant, wife, mother, children’s minister, and writer, I need to keep the characters at bay or my mind will explode.

Yesterday was my first time to write over 500 words in over four weeks. It was as though my head cleared of the fog and I relaxed. My characters were walking around in my head, whistling and happy. It was a great day. Now, as I sit here, preparing to get in my daily word count, which sounds great… I’m smiling.

Just a little tidbit, I have a new series coming this summer and I’m uber excited. In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be revealing a few little things about it. But, you’ll have to be patient. Let’s just say it is big, real big, at least for me…

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…

P.S. Please help me get out of Twitter jail by going over to https://twitter.com/StephanieHurt4 and give me a follow. It’s hilarious that I finally get up to following 5000 and have over 4300 followers, but Twitter locks me down from following anyone until my followers go up. LOL! Yes, I just asked you to follow me on Twitter, I told you my mind has been compromised from lack of writing.