Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Writing through Menopause brain…

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Alright ladies, who can raise their hand on this one? If you’re already at that age where your brain is fuzzy at best, then you’re aware of the effects it has on your writing. Some days my mind just doesn’t want to function, which can cause quite a disturbance in my daily word count. What to do?

For me, I caffeine up and take something naturally, which does help, but there are days when none of this makes a difference. I feel sluggish, irritable and just uninterested. That makes me crazy since writing is my happy place.

I’ve been reading a lot lately on how to combat this. One of the things is I make sure that I write everyday, even through the fuzzy edged mind. My editor laughs sometimes when she gets the first draft because, well, the menopause brain makes me stumble over my words, quite literally. Some of my words get ahead of themselves, but thank goodness she understands me, so she plows through it.

Another thing that has helped is a painting app on my phone. When the fuzziness starts creeping in, I pull out my phone and begin to paint. It’s paint by numbers and very relaxing. I’ve also found that while I’m painting, I can work through plots and scenes in my head. So, this is helping.

How many of you have these issues? Let’s work through them together and get to the next stage in our lives. Yes, I’m proud to be almost 52. My life has been an amazing adventure and I know this season will be another adventure that I will laugh at when I get past it. But for now, I’ll just do everything in my power to keep up my work.

As always, May God Bless You…

And while you’re working through it, give Marina a read. It’s a short story to finish out my The Journal Series.

https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1535894983

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/marinas-story-timeless-love-stephanie-hurt/1137860225?ean=2940162731931


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When writing is hard… Push through it!

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Hit a wall with your current project? At a loss for words, literally? Yep, I’ve been there and other writers have too. The words stop… The creative juices reach a dam and stop… It’s like your internal hard drive crashes…

Push past that wall…

Everyone hits a wall, it’s only human. It’s how you react to that sudden wall standing in front of you that counts. So, here’s a couple of things I do when that wall jumps out and blocks my path.

1: Step back… Yes, step back. If you’re at a wall, then you need to clear your head, and redirect back to the project. When this happens to me, I’ll put that project aside and bring out an upcoming project to outline or even create some ads to inspire me.

2: Go back and read from the beginning of the project. Reintroduce yourself to the characters… Fall back in love with the story…

3: Don’t give up! Even though it seems like you’ve lost the battle, you haven’t. You’ve hit a wall that all writers hit. Push past it! Don’t let it control you. You’ve got this.

Now, get to writing and know that there will be obstacles, but you have the power to push through them. You’re a writer and that’s what you do. So write!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

P.S.: Don’t forget that Marina’s Story is coming out on Saturday.

Love-Marinas-Story-Journal-ebook/dp/B08DFGK8JB


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Genre… How do you choose?

Wow! We made it people, we’re halfway to the weekend… I have question and it’s one that’s been asked of me, plus I’ve asked it myself. What is the genre you write in?

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It’s like sitting down to watch a movie. You have to choose what you want to watch. If you love Rom Com’s, then you’re not likely to choose a Horror Flick. Same with books, people are specific when they look for a book.

So, you’re probably saying, you write romance, that’s easy. But, when you put your book on a publishing site, it’s not that easy. Ok, the main genre is romance for me, but there are many styles of romance. It’s endless and sometimes gives me a headache. How do you break it down?

For example, when putting a book on Amazon for instance, you have to list 2 categories and then 7 keywords. Yikes! And if you get it wrong, you won’t explode, but your sales may not either. If you get it right, you nail it!

Now, the categories for romance are long and sort of specific. Yes, I know that I don’t write Dystopian Romance. To be honest, I had to look up Dystopian, just to clarify. And no, I don’t write Erotic Romance. But, does my book fall into Contemporary, New Adult, General, Comedy, Western, etc… The list goes on.

My best advice on this subject is to go to writers that write like you. See where they have their books at and always, always, look at the bestsellers in that style. Because if they aren’t bestsellers, then they may be doing the same thing as you, trying to wrap their head around it.

Oh, and don’t forget the keywords. This is something that I change up often and I mean often. Of course, sometimes Amazon will put your book in other keywords or categories, like if your book is short, it could be listed under Kindle Read under 2 hours. Do your research!!! Let me repeat that so that all of those in the back heard me, DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! Don’t you hate shouty capitals. Well, I hope I got your attention.

Go now and look at the book that’s not selling as well as it should. No, really, go now. You can’t afford for your book to be sitting in the wrong spot. It’s like a cook book that’s put under historical romance. Wrong! So get to it. And let me know how it goes. Make sure that you keep a spreadsheet on sales before you make the change, then after. See if it works and if you haven’t see a change in a couple of weeks, tweak it.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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The Structure I use to outline…

It’s Tuesday morning and I’m cozying up with my coffee cup. Morning’s are so hard, but after a couple more cups of coffee, I’ll have this thing in hand…

Ok, so I promised part 2 of my outline process would be about structure. And I always do my best to live up to my promises…

Structure!

Outlining gets me through the writing progress, but as I stated in my last post, there needs to be structure, the bones to the writing.

Now, this is the way I structure my writing process. It works for me and I hope it works for you.

  1. Start your book by introducing your main character. Don’t overdo the backstory, but let your reader know who the main character is all about, what they are looking for, or what they need to happen. Maybe it’s looking for Mr. Right or solving a mystery.
  2. Then, of course, things can’t go exactly right with your character, that would be boring. So, something needs to happen that changes their course, maybe setting them up for an exciting change. Maybe it’s an obstacle that’s put in front of their goal.
  3. At this point, the character will want to give up, but they press forward.
  4. In the middle or somewhere near it, your character should be at their breaking point. Your reader should be asking, what will happen next? I call this the top of the hill.
  5. As you start to let things happen that go right for the character, you need to toss in one last zinger. Your reader has started to feel like they know how it will end, but then…
  6. Now, and only now do you let your character have victory. This is when they slay the dragon, win the love, or find the killer.
  7. This is the closing out of your story. Your character marries their love, sees the killer put in prison, or whatever their turmoil was, ends and they see the rainbow, so to speak. Then they walk into the sunset, or fall off a cliff, if it’s a cliffhanger for the next book in the series…

Now, I now this was a very relaxed explanation, but that’s how I roll. I don’t get into fancy words, because that just confuses the situation. This is how I do it and it may or may not work for you. It works for me!

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

Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter so that you can get all of my upcoming release news! Sign up at stephaniehurtauthor.com or if you want a FREE book, sign up at https://dl.bookfunnel.com/c8f1clsu21

Book 3 in The Journal Series


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Make bad reviews work for you…

Good Tuesday morning! Let’s talk about reviews. Yes, I know, some say don’t read them. Some say read them. Me, I read them. But how do we react when we read them? Anger? Confusion? Laughter? Happy? Sad? There’s a lot of things that go through your head when you read reviews of your work. But I have a couple of things to discuss with you about them.

Make them work for you…

What am I talking about? Well, hear me out… Bad reviews can go two ways, one being they are just nasty and have no meaning for your writing, or two, they are well thought out reviews that can tell you something about the work.

Let’s talk about some ways to use bad reviews to make your work better. Here goes:

1: There are misspelled words and grammatical errors!

                We know that it doesn’t matter how many times your work is edited and even if it’s by the best editor out there, mistakes can be missed. I’ve read some of the bestsellers out there that have some mistakes that weren’t caught. SO, use that bad review as a reason to read through your work just one more time with a critical eye.

                Now, do remember, some people are not experts and what they think is a grammatical error, really isn’t. But, I still go back over my work, just in case I missed something, or my editor did. It’s worth the effort in the end. Especially if you get several reviews about the same problem.

2: The book was left on a cliffhanger!

                Ok, this one shocked me the first time I read it. When I read a book that’s part of a series, most of the time I expect a cliffhanger to get me to read the next one. Think about a series on television. They always leave you at the end of the season wondering what the heck just happened and what will happen next. The reason I put this one in my post is because if you get this and it bothers you, then insert a sentence in your description that says, ‘This book ends on a cliffhanger’. That way you don’t have to worry about a reader not understanding that it’s a series and can end on a cliffhanger.

3: The characters were not fleshed out…

                If you get this one, maybe look back at your work and see if you never described your main characters. I know that as a reader, I love to be able to picture the characters in my mind. I’ve received this type of review before and realized that I was so into writing the story, I never fleshed my character out. Yep, that was a facepalm moment for me. Go ahead and add a little description, because as a writer, you know in your mind that you have a picture in your mind of the character.

4: The book was too short… or This book was too long…

                Now this one took me by surprise. But yes, reviewers have opinions on the length of your book. There are those that don’t like them too long and those that don’t like them too short. My thoughts on this are, input in your description, at the end, ‘This is a novella’ or ‘This is a full-length book’. Maybe that little key point will stop some of those lower star reviews.

5: The story doesn’t flow well…

                Now this can be a problem if your story doesn’t flow well. My suggestion is to read the manuscript out loud and don’t do it as the writer, do it as a reader. Meaning, in your mind, you’re the reader wanting to be entertained by the story. Believe me, I do this with my books before I publish them and its eye opening. Sometimes I wonder what on earth was I thinking…

Now there are many more aspects of reviews to look at. Also look at the good ones. This keeps you motivated and let’s you know what your dedicated readers loved. Of course, there will always be those that give a bad review just to do it. I’ve had those.

If you do have a review that’s particularly nasty and doesn’t match your book, report it to the distributor whether it be Amazon, Barnes and Noble or iTunes. I had one that mentioned characters that weren’t even in my book. I reported it to Amazon and the review disappeared. But I had one that didn’t represent my book and they didn’t take it down.

The moral of the blog is this, use even the bad reviews for good. Let them roll off your back and move forward. Now, if you get only bad reviews, then I would definitely take another look at the work. But hey, smile and keep writing. A writer has to have a thick skin. Sometimes when I get my work back from my editor, I have to thicken my skin and push through it. So, keep up the good work!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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And one last thing, sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date with all of my new releases, upcoming releases, and to get a FREE ebook!

https://dl.bookfunnel.com/c8f1clsu21


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Monday Thoughts…

Good Monday morning! I hope your Monday is fabulous. I’m on the first full day of our vacation. The boys are out in the boat fishing and I’m sitting in the room writing. Which is wonderful!

I’m finishing the last of Pier Cove, Book 4 of the Wishful Harbor Series. This is one of my favorite series and with only one more book to go, I’m so sad to see it coming to an end. I’ve enjoyed getting to know each of the characters in Wishful Harbor, the sweet little seaside town.

With each new book there is an added set of characters. Also, each book can be a standalone, which makes it versatile. I can imagine sitting out on the back deck of the little shops, watching the sun set or climbing the lighthouse to see everything around me.

If you haven’t fell in love with Wishful Harbor, then check the books out on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Walmart. You won’t regret it!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Don’t forget to grab a copy of my latest release, To Dance With Dragonflies at iTunes… https://books.apple.com/us/book/to-dance-with-dragonflies/id1513491921?mt=11&app=itunes&at=1001l35iN


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Writing is easy, they say…

Good morning! How many have heard someone say, ‘Writing is too easy. Anyone can do it’? I’ve heard it so many times that I’ve lost count. My comment is always, great, give it a try.

Yes, it’s easy to put words on paper. But I need to let you in on some funny things about writing:

  1. In order to write a story, it’s got to make sense and have a beginning, middle and ending.
  2. Make sure that your plot is solid and there are no holes. And if you have holes, make sure they are small enough the reader doesn’t know that they are there.
  3. Have you set the scene? Is the story readable? Have you kept to the story and not went on a chase down a rabbit hole?

That’s just three things that I’d tell someone wanting to write a book. Writing is not for the faint of heart and you definitely have to grow a thick skin. If not, you won’t last too long.

But, don’t get me wrong, I love writing. I love everything about it and yes, even after almost 50 published books, I still get nervous before I hit submit. In the end, it’s so worth it, but you better be prepared to put in the work to get it right or you’ll find out all too soon that you didn’t!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Saturday Adventures…

Yes, it’s Saturday! Didn’t think it would ever get here, but finally it is here… So what now?

As a writer, you owe it to yourself to take an adventure. Even if it’s just taking a walk in your backyard. I do my best plotting on long walks. Oh, and don’t forget about people watching. It’s a great way to study mannerisms. So get out the door and explore the world around you.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Looking back at 5 Oaks Ranch…

Five Oaks Ranch

It’s Saturday! Are you making the most of it? If you’re looking for a series to get lost in, then give the Five Oaks Ranch series a chance. It’s my bestselling romance series about the Cauthen family. Each book is about a different sibling, but all of the family are entwined in all the books.

Get all 6 books for only $9.99!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Happy New Year~

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Happy New Year! It’s a new year, So make it a new, better you…

Are you ready for the new year? Think about it this way; It’s a new year, so why not make this the year you’ll make a change. Maybe it’s stop doing something considered a habit. Maybe it’s stepping up the game with your career. Maybe it’s just getting healthy. But whatever it is, do it to the best of your ability and do it for yourself.

As always, great writing and May God Bless you…