Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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If your story falls apart, use Duct Tape!

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Duct tape is a house staple, just as salt, sugar and flour are food staples. For many years people have fixed almost everything with duct tape. At Church we even fixed a broken Christmas tree with duct tape, no really we did. It’s strong and durable. Also you can get it in any width and color so it’s versatile.

What if your story is falling apart? We all have those manuscripts that start out really good and we have a phenomenal ending planned, but the middle has so many holes and fractures that it puts a real stink on the beginning and ending. Well, put a little duct tape on it. What am I talking about? Well, here goes the answer in a nutshell.

By duct tape I mean sit down with your beginning and ending. Then really look at it. Where is the character headed? The middle needs some suspense or issue that needs to carry the reader over the hump to the end. It needs something that only the ending can shed some light on. This is where the duct tape comes in.

As I said above, duct tape is strong and durable with lots of versatility, so the middle of the book needs to be taped up neatly. But be careful not to just add fluffy filler that makes the reader fall asleep with boredom. If the first of the book is power packed, then make the middle explode with tension. This is the strong duct tape. Add an element of complete surprise. Let the main character have a major problem that needs solving, or maybe a secret that is threatening to come out, but the secret has to be life altering.

But make sure that it can mesh with your great ending. I did this one time and a book that started out being only around 30,000 words went over 50,000 words with a little duct tape application. Crazy, but true. I had this really great beginning that pulled you in and the ending left you breathless, but the middle was just a bunch of fluff. As I did my first read through I was almost dozing and that’s not good. I sat down and spread out the beginning and ending, then totally restructured my characters. I added a whole new dimension to them that took them on an adventure that meshed well with the ending and soon I had a complete story that I was proud to hit the publish button on.

So, get you some duct tape and pull that story together. If you use the right duct tape it will hold together nicely.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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In the Right Order…Or NOT!

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Happy Thanksgiving week! It’s Monday, so forgive me if I ramble a bit. After a busy weekend, I need multiple cups of coffee just to get my eyes open. But, for now, let’s talk writing.

Do you have to do things in the right order? Well, it’s according to what you’re doing. You can’t bake a cake before you make the batter. You can’t ice a cake before you bake it.

With writing, you can write the ending before you write the beginning. How? For some writers, they have to get the last scene written in order to get a grip on the first three fourths.

I’ve posted several things on outlines and writing technique. And I’ve always said, put your ideas together, so that you know where you’re headed. Before you ask, yes, I’ve written the last scene of a book first. Of course, when I did, the ending changed slightly as the first parts were written and put in place.

Since I write in Scrivener, sometimes I go ahead and put in the Chapter heads that go with my outline first. That way I can write different scenes ahead of time. If I get stuck on a certain part, sometimes skipping ahead helps to beat writers block.

The goal of the post is to let you know, it’s alright to write your book in the wrong order. Just make sure that it fits together like a puzzle. The pieces need to fit, but not forced.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Podcast coming…

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Yes, you heard me right. I took the Podcast plunge. The Coffee & A Good Book podcast will be up and going soon. I’ll keep all of you updated. I’m excited and nervous, all at the same time. Being in front of the camera is out of my comfort zone, way out of it. But in front of the microphone, I feel a little less intimidated. We’ll see how it goes.

The podcast will feature author interviews, book reviews, lots of coffee talk, NO POLITICS, romance talks, writing talk, and more book talk than you can get through a short podcast… If you’ve followed my blog for very long, you know how much I love writing, books and coffee. So, this made me want to keep the talk going, but this time in a different format.

Keep watching for the release date. I can’t wait to connect with everyone.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Step out of your comfort zone…

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Alright, every writer knows what I’m talking about when I say, to publish your manuscript, you have to step out of your comfort zone. It’s that moment that you hit submit… Your body trembles… You begin to sweat… You rethink everything in your manuscript… Did I change that dialogue? Did I correct that misspelled word? Did I send it to the right place?

We’ve all felt it and for me, every time I hit submit, I still go through all of these feelings. Even after over 45 romances published, it never gets easier. But it starts to get more satisfying.

So, if you have a manuscript that you’re just holding on to, put it out there. It can’t soar if you don’t. Let your book step out in the light and breathe.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Wednesday giggles…

Have you ever been writing and went back to read over what you’d written? Sometimes you have to sit back and go, what the heck was I thinking…

I had one of those moments just now. It was a LOL moment. I have no clue what I was trying to say, but I had to delete almost a whole paragraph.

That’s why we edit, edit, and edit some more. Then we send to an editor, then edit some more. Sometimes I really think I’m drunk when I write some of my words. But, as I’ve said a thousand times, it’s a rough draft people.

So, happy Wednesday people…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Come by and follow me on BookBub to keep up with all of my new releases!

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/stephanie-payne-hurt


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Saying goodbye is never easy!

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It’s hard to believe that I’m finishing the last book of the Wishful Harbor Series. I’ve enjoyed every moment of writing this series. The characters will always hold a special place in my heart. And the town of Wishful Harbor will draw me in and send me on a journey where the scent of sea air and the sound of sea gulls overhead fill the air.

Saying goodbye to anything isn’t easy. In life, there’s so many things we have to say goodbye to. But with a book series, even though the series has come to a close, the books will be there to read over and over. The memories will be there too.

Over the years of my writing career, I’ve said goodbye to many series. The Five Oaks Ranch Series is still one of my bestselling series and it continues to gain momentum. I’ve had so many people write to me about adding more books to that series. Maybe one day, but for now, it’s just a dream…

In January I’ll publish the last Mistletoe Ranch book. And I just published the last book from The Journal Series. With each new series, there has to be an end. New things need to start and life goes on. But the memories will forever be there along with the laughter, tears and thought that went into each word.

Starting in 2021 I’ll be starting a whole new series, one that will pull everything out of me. I’m so excited about it. I’ve not spoken much about it, but in the coming weeks, I’ll post some snippets and info on it. But for now, let’s just say, 2021 will be filled with mystery, intrigue, and romance.

For now, I’ll go back to my writing and the cup of coffee that’s growing cool. But I’ll ask one question, how do you handle saying goodbye?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Monday Rough Draft…

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Monday! After a crazy busy weekend, all I wanted was a Pumpkin Spice Latte, but the Espresso machine was down at the coffee shop, so I had to get a Pumpkin Spice Coffee. Yep, not what I needed this Monday morning. So, pushing through the tired fog.

Rough draft… It’s the nemesis of a writer. How many rough drafts do you go through? Me? Several. The first round of writing on my manuscript is usually unreadable. My editor laughs when she gets one of my rough drafts. Often there is a question posed to me of ‘what the heck did you mean by that sentence?’ It actually makes me giggle when I go back in to see what she’s talking about.

But, are rough drafts essential when writing? No… Maybe… Yes! It gives you a chance to go back over what you’ve written. The rough draft also gives you the freedom to get the words on the paper. That’s why it’s called a rough draft. It’s the flow straight from your brain. There is no rhyme or reason to that first draft, it’s just pure writing at it’s roughest. I love getting that raw first draft on paper. There’s such a sense of freedom.

So, posing the above question again, how many drafts do you go through to get to the finished product?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Check out my newest release, Time Love – Marina’s Story… It’s on sale for a limited time only!


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Thursday Cowboy Throwback…

In a world of corporations, concrete, and business suits, there are still cowboys. I love writing about them because to me, they are a dying breed. As long as time can remember, there was cowboys.

With every cowboy I write, I try to make them as real as possible. Since I personally know a lot of cowboys, I have lots of examples of what a true cowboy is. It’s more than the jeans, cowboy boots and Stetson. They are true men that are hard workers, rough handed, and down right tough guys. That’s the ones that are the real thing.

Each one of my cowboys that I’ve written has encompassed one of the cowboys I know. One cowboy I knew was an older man with that weathered skin, keen eye, and cowboy swagger. He was the epitome of an old world cowboy. There was never a conversation that we had that didn’t involve a horse. I loved every minute of each conversation. But now he’s gone, and I long for those conversations.

So, do you love cowboys? Maybe you know one, or even married to one. Let’s give it up for cowboys this Thursday!

As always, Good writing and May God Bless You…


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Deadlines or Procrastination!

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Deadlines… A writers nemesis, but necessary. As an Accountant I have many deadlines to meet, and as a writer, I also have them. They surround me and some days I feel overwhelmed. But I love what I do on both fronts, so I push toward the next deadline with zeal.

But, procrastination also plays a part. As I’m procrastinating now by writing this blog. Sometimes I work best with a looming deadline. Then other times, a chill runs up my spine as the anxiety fills me.

As writers, we set release dates for our work, then work toward them. It’s like a means to an end. If we don’t set a deadline, then where will our work go? I do a schedule every year that sets deadlines for the draft, the editing, and the release. This is setup by evaluating the work itself. Is it to be a full length novel or a short novella? I calculate the words per day, but I manage to add some empty days that allow for procrastination, but still have me meeting my deadline.

What about you? How do you handle deadlines?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You!


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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.

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