Thursday, December 11, 2014

If your story falls apart, use duct tape?

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 you’re 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…

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Her Wish For Christmas... Pre Order up

Good Wednesday morning to everyone! It's a beautiful, chilly morning here in Georgia. I just love the crisp air that Fall offers. It's so invigorating and refreshes my soul. I begin to get more itchy to write which is scary because some days I could write for 24 hours a day. Yikes, that sounds a little obsessive, but if you're a writer you know exactly what I'm talking about. I'm currently working on Her Wish for Christmas, the 3rd book in my Lean on Him Christian Romance Series. This book has torn at my heart and brought me to tears several times. I thought book 2 in the series, Faith Through the Tears was bad on my nerves, well this one has totally cleared out my tear ducts. Actually had a fan recommend sending out a box of tissues with each copy sold. Good Wednesday morning to everyone! It's a beautiful, chilly morning here in Georgia. I just love the crisp air that Fall offers. It's so invigorating and refreshes my soul. I begin to get more itchy to write which is scary because some days I could write for 24 hours a day. Yikes, that sounds a little obsessive, but if you're a writer you know exactly what I'm talking about. I'm currently working on Her Wish for Christmas, the 3rd book in my Lean on Him Christian Romance Series. This book has torn at my heart and brought me to tears several times. I thought book 2 in the series, Faith Through the Tears was bad on my nerves, well this one has totally cleared out my tear ducts. Actually had a fan recommend sending out a box of tissues with each copy sold. If you're wondering why it brings me to tears, well it's a book about a problem that plagues this nation and it's something that just affects me so deeply. But it's the reactions of the characters that totally takes me by surprise. If you're not a writer, the last statement might seem strange, but sometimes as writer's we're surprised by how the characters take over. Also, for this book, it's on pre order through Amazon until the release date of November 14th at http://www.amazon.com/Her-Wish-Christmas-Lean-Book-ebook/dp/B00OJI0BN0. I'm donating 50% of my royalties from all the pre order sales and first week after release sales to a domestic violence charity. I want to help out with making a difference. This is such a problem and it breaks my heart that so many feel they have nowhere to turn. The first couple of days the pre order was out it was in the top 100 on Amazon which is exciting. I'm so touched by the response to this book and can't wait for it to be up and running. Since the book is almost completely through the editing process I'm crossing my fingers that maybe this book can inspire someone to speak out and get help. As always, great writing and May God Bless You...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Authors are like bees!

Authors are like bees! Ok, I know you’re saying, now where is she going with that? Well, let me explain. I was watching a bumblebee buzzing around my flowers and I was thinking about the pollination process. If you think hard about it you’ll get where I’m going with this :) As authors we start with the seed that grows into a flower which of course is our book. Once we’ve completed our work of art we start spreading it everywhere. Then of course other authors or bees in this analogy, spread it to other places and so on and so on. Are you getting the picture? Of course we do want to make sure to cross pollinate too. We need to work together as authors and helps other authors promote. It’s a win, win. Have you noticed that we do a lot of promoting on other authors sites and them on ours? I was asked by a non writer once why we do that and I laughed. I told them it may sound crazy, but it still gets our name out there. We all have followers that read what we post. Then of course if we recommend a book they’ll go over and check it out, then also when we cross pollinate, the original author gets more views from the other authors followers. It may sound confusing, but it’s really quite simple. It’s like a pyramid, but legal. So, have you cross pollinated lately? Don’t forget about Romancing September Across The World will start Septemeber 1st. I’ll be posting more in the next week regarding it. But I’ll tell you this, we’ve got 30 awesome authors involved and it’s going to be a great chance to do some pollinating, ummm…. you know what I mean, sharing :) As always, good writing and May God Bless You… For more info: http://rosieamber.wordpress.com/romancing-september-tour/ Also, the countdown is getting close for Safe In The Pirate’s Arms…

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mid Week Snippet!

With Safe in the Pirate’s Arms coming out in 2 days, I thought I’d tease you a little bit. You know me, I have to let you in on the fun! I will say this, writing a Pirate Romance was so much fun that guess what, no wait should I tell you this yet? Hmmmm…. ok you pulled my leg, be looking for another installment coming over the horizon. Watch for it. It will sail into book sites in the near future, but for now, here’s a snippet of Caleb & Serena’s story: Pacing the quarters that were quickly shrinking, she finally walked over to the door. She placed her ear on the door to see if anyone was near. When she heard nothing, she quietly opened the door. Slowly she stepped out of the cabin. The sea air felt wonderful on her face. Closing her eyes she let it blow over her body and through her hair. The smell was heavenly and made her long to be up on deck. She leaned over the railing and looked down at the water rippling and splashing on the side of the huge ship. So caught up in her view, she didn’t hear Caleb coming up the walkway. He couldn’t believe she was already disobeying him. She was caught off guard when he pulled her quickly into his quarters. The anger in his eyes told her that this would cost her freedom. “Do you even have a thought to your safety? Am I the only one concerned with it?” He thrust her toward the bed and stood over her. “I left you untied because I wanted to give you a chance to walk around and for your wrists to heal.” “I’m sorry, but I just can’t stay cooped up in here. It’s stuffy and warm.” She indicated the sweat on her brow. He walked over to the door and contemplated what to do with this woman. She’d disobeyed his orders. What if his men would’ve seen her? Rolling his eyes he turned to look down at her. “If you’ll stay in here until after the men go to sleep, I’ll take you up on deck.” He put his hands on his hips. “Can you handle that?” What was she doing to his control? She meekly looked up at him from under her lowered lashes. “I’ll stay right here.” She was excited about going up on deck to see the stars overhead. They were always brighter out at sea. “I’ll be back in a bit with dinner, so you’d better be right here. Do you understand?” He talked to her as if she was a child. “I’m not a child.” She huffed out. “Then don’t make me treat you like one.” He said and walked back out the door. By the time he stepped back on deck he was smiling. Things were not going to get boring with her on board. He whistled as he stepped up to take the wheel from Tom. Tom grinned at his friends light mood. “Well how’s the prisoner?” Caleb cut a hard look at him. “She’s not a prisoner and she’s the most stubborn woman I’ve ever dealt with.” He growled out. “Well, most women that are brave usually have a stubborn streak. And she’s definitely brave.” He shook his head and laughed. “I’ve never known many women who’d want to sneak on a pirate ship.”
That was just a little dangling bait to wet your senses. It’s a powerful book that takes you on a journey across the sea and back. Don’t forget, it’s coming Friday! As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New Website and Release date finalized!

It’s been a very productive past couple of days. I have a new website that features buy links for my paperbacks and it’s pretty neat. You can go over and visit at http://www.stephaniehurtauthor.com/. Also this is something that Horseshoe Publishing does. We offer website design and set up. Also at competitive rates. Just wanted to throw that in there. The other big news is that “Safe In The Pirate’s Arms” official release date is Friday, August 15th. Yep that’s this Friday. I’m excited that it’s so soon, I’d thought it might me next week. Of course my new website has a countdown to the minute, but you know how these book sites are. It could go up a little earlier, but that’s the approximate time. I hope everyone is having an awesome week so far. As for me, it’s been great and I’m working on Emma. The countdown to release is coming up. Then on to the new series. Yikes, deadlines! Yep, I love being a writer. As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Friday, June 20, 2014

In Between Seasons by Cassandra Giovanni Cover Reveal

COMING JULY 31, 2014 From Show n'ot Tell Publishing NEW ADULT POST - APOCALYPTIC ROMANCE SERIES In 2021 the world as we know it changed. The government collapsed, and the worst characteristics of human nature were shown as the world fell into ruins. Years after The Fall, the Tribes that were established are still at war. They still fight to keep what they pillaged, and most of all, they fight to keep their lies a secret. In a world filled with deception, nothing is as it seems. I was born into this world. Hunter Marks was molded into this world; a General— a person cold and harsh. A person meant to kill me. We were told to just believe. We were taught to never question. We’re supposed to be robots, and accept our roles in this altered society. Too bad Hunter and I don’t follow the rules. And we’re a hell of a lot stronger than they ever thought possible. They’ve been searching for the world’s deadliest weapon. It’s me. And I’m not following the leader any more.
Cassandra doesn't remember a time when she wasn't writing. In fact, the first time she was published was when she was seven years old and won a contest to be published in an American Girl Doll novel. Since then Cassandra has written more novels than she can count and put just as many in the circular bin. Her personal goal with her writing is to show the reader the character's stories through their dialogue and actions instead of just telling the reader what is happening. Besides being a writer, Cassandra is a professional photographer known for her automotive, nature and architectural shots. She is happily married to the man of her dreams and they live in the rolling hills of New England their dogs, Bubski and Kanga. Cassandra Giovanni is published by Show n’ot Tell Publishing based out of Connecticut, USA.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

TBT - "Field Of Dreams"

It’s Thursday and as I sit here watching the Today Show I’m in awe. Why? Well, they’re talking about Field OF Dreams being 25 years old. I dearly love this movie for many reasons. It’s such an inspirational movie. Even if you don’t like baseball you’ll love this movie. I just love Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones. The movie takes you to another place where dreams come true and make you think. The main character makes his dreams a reality through many hardships and a lot of criticism. It makes me think about my dream to be a writer. My niece who is also my partner in our publishing business told me that if I write the fans will come and she was right. I compare my writing to the baseball field. When I publish a book I’m always amazed at the people that come out of the darkness and write to me about the book. Some call them inspirational and others say they love the clean way I bring about romance without having to go too far. I guess you could say my writing is my very own field of dreams and it’s been a dream come true. Yes I do meet some criticism, but I have a tough skin and let it roll off my back. I’m lucky that I have a great following and so many new friends from all over the world that support my writing, my blog and my craziness. Thanks to all of you for helping me make my dreams come true. As always, great writing and May God Bless You…

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Tender Flames

Well, another one of my books has turned two this week. Tender Flames turned two on Monday. Wow, time flies when you're having a blast. I always knew that writing was fun and rewarding, but the last two years have really proven this as fact. Tender Flames was a challenge to me. I pitted two brothers against one another and made it work. I cried and laughed while writing this one. But as with Ghost Lover it is under reconstruction. I've learned so much in the last two years and I want to make this book even better with new angles. Even the cover will be remade even though I dearly love the original, everything needs a face lift from time to time. Here's a little snippet from Tender Flames: They walked hand in hand back to the party. They were both deep in thought. She was thinking about how her family would react and how Wes would. Zach knew his family would be happy, well almost his whole family. He knew it was mean of him to want to hurt his brother, but his brother was a fool for not snatching her up long ago. They arrived back at the party. Randy ran over, “Hey sis, everyone wondered where you two had wondered off to. Judging by the look on your face I know what you were doing.” He grinned as he pulled his sisters hair. She blushed. Zach led her to the front of the dance floor. He whistled for the music to stop. Everyone turned to see what Zach had to say. “I have some wonderful news. I have asked Sara to be my wife, and she has accepted. We are to be wed before my leave is up.” There was a stunned silence then everyone whooped and yelled. There were a lot of handshakes and pats on the back for Zach and hugs for Sara. Her parents were stunned at first, then relieved. They had always hoped she would marry one of the Dawson boys. The same went for his parents, they were thrilled. His mother had even cried. Wes walked up and leaned over Sara. He whispered in her ear. “I hope you know what you are doing?” He then gave her a hug that was tight enough to press the air from her lungs. The look he gave her was full of something she did not recognize. She knew then that he cared more for her than she realized. She was suddenly angry with him. It served him right. He should have let her know a long time ago. She did not plan on waiting on him the rest of her life. He gave his brother a hug and said in his ear. “Brother, she had better not be pregnant. You had better make her happy.” He gave him a look that dared him to go against what he said. With that he had left with his girlfriend. Zach had noticed his brother’s reaction too. He was sorry for the hurt he had seen in his eyes, but he loved Sara. He would make her a good husband. Maybe one day she would learn to love him, but for now he was satisfied that she would be his wife. He knew deep down that there would always be a large part of her that belonged to Wes. He could live with that, he just hoped that she could. He turned to her and gave her a big kiss, which brought a lot of whistling and applauding. They danced together for the remainder of the evening. Sara was still a little shocked by the show of emotions on Wes’ face. She knew now that he loved her, but she had committed herself to his brother. She would not back out now and hurt Zach. In a way, she did love him, but she would never love him the way she did Wes. She would make him a good wife. This is from the original manuscript. Since the rewrite is already in process this scene will read differently but the emotion will be there. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Monday, May 12, 2014

Lightning Bugs & Mason Jars

http://stephanie-hurt.com/2014/05/12/lightning-bugs-and-mason-jars/

Monday, May 5, 2014

Getting to the Heart of Romance...

As most of you know, I write romance. I also blog about romance and the need for more of it in our lives. As I've said many times, romance helps in so many ways.If you're married, you need sprinkles of romance in every aspect of that marriage. If you're in a relationship and it's leaning toward love, well you need romance. It just helps out with even the most tense moment. I've read hundreds, dare I say thousands of romance novels. Sometimes I have to laugh at the lengths a writer will go to when trying to tickle a readers ears. I know all about those lengths. I do it everyday in my writing. Are we giving people false hope? I don't think so, but I recently read an article on just that. The writer talked about teen girls today expecting to find that one man that will give them the romance and life they've read about in novels. She talked about having a trend of romance novels that actually talked of real life interactions. This made me think about my writing. Could a romance novel written from real life interactions make difference? Would the couple waking up with morning breath, totally avoiding one another until they've freshened said breath make a difference? What about those unglamorous moments when you have no make up on and your hair is scraggly? Do you write about that? Will it sell or will people laugh you right out of business? If you take a long look at your own life, how many times have you had a muscled man rescue you and sweep you away to a beautiful location to propose and give you a huge diamond ring, then kiss you into oblivion? Really, how many times? What about a virile cowboy sweeping you off your feet and taking you away into the sunset on his horse? I know, I'm being a little far fetched, but let's get to the heart of real romance. In real life it's the simple things. Maybe it's a flower picked from the yard, a card to say I'm sorry, maybe it's just a loaded dishwasher after a long day of work, but let's get real about romance. For me it's that look across the dinner table or simply a quick kiss as he passes me in the kitchen as I fix dinner. But in order to sell books, sometimes we have to go beyond the simple and blow the romance up to a higher level. But that's what sells books, so we'll continue to do it. I can say that I haven't heard of anyone being swept off their feet by a sexy vampire or shifter. But it makes for fascinating reading. As always good writing, and May God Bless You...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

How hooked are you?

Good morning! I do hope all of you are safe and well after those nasty storms that came through the southern US. As for me, did you notice no post from me yesterday. Well, I had no power for most of the day. If you know me well, or even if you just know me from social media interaction, then you know I try to post most days. While my power was off and I was unconnected to all of my electrical devices, I had lots of time to think. Think? Wow that's a large word when you think about it. How often do we just sit and think? No really, how often? Yes we use our brains, but most of the time it's connected to some sort of electrical device, especially internet driven devices. Whether it's your computer, smart phone, or whatever it is that you use to do everything, you're probably hooked. I sat here thinking about how much power means to us today. It's like life shuts down when the power does. But if you think about it, we're so hooked on the gadgets that make life easier that we can't function when it goes south. I sat down on my couch and tried to figure out what I would do until the power came back on. The sad thing was, I had payroll for a client to complete, but my computer addicted brain had a hard time dealing with the process of manually completing the task. That's when I sat down and took a hard look at me life. When it's quiet and nothing is happening you can do that without interruption. I realized that I'm addicted to power. Whatever happened to actually doing something for ourselves without relying on a gadget to do it for us. I stood up and walked to my office with determination. Of course I had to drag my teenage son with me so he could hold the flashlight. I pulled out the employee paperwork on each employee, I dusted off the payroll tax sheets and I grabbed some checks and a pen. Oh yeah, and the solar powered calculator. I sat down with a old oil lamp and proceeded to figure payroll the old way. My son sat watching and shaking his head. He kept saying, 'Can't you wait until the power comes back on?' I just kept going and soon I had a completed payroll ready for delivery. The hard part was the social media disconnect. I sat for a moment wondering if I made any sales during the night, wondering how all my social media friends had faired the night of storms and wanting desperately to check my Twitter feed. Sad, but true. I realized again I'm addicted to everything power connected. Unfortunately, most of my work is connected to power. My clients files are loaded on my laptop, which has a battery of course, but my accounting program drains that battery really quickly. I did a couple of things that didn't require my laptop, but I was limited. I did work on some of my manuscript outlines. I still do those old school long hand. It's just the way I am. I tried putting those on the computer, but it's easier to have them beside me as I write, not in a file that I have to pull up. So, my question is this, How hooked are you on electricity or even the internet and social media? If you were without power for a week, would you pull your hair out or make the best of it? As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Let's do a Throwback Thursday

Today I'm getting ready to celebrate the two year mark of publishing my first novel, "Ghost Lover". That one book challenged me in so many ways. I wrote this book several months before I published it in May 2012, but I struggled with putting it out to the public. My editor and cover designer, Kaleigh, found the manuscript and loved it. She went about working on a cover and getting the information to publish this book on Amazon. I was thrilled, scared, excited, nervous and the list goes on regarding how I felt about putting my work out to the public. Then one day there it was. It was on Amazon and I was a published author. But a funny thing happened. Readers fell in love with Jess and Jared's love story. This book was a game changer for me. It catapulted me into a writing frenzy. This book still sells today and I've had several calls and emails about this book. But I do have some surprises coming in the near future concerning some of my first published books. As any writer will tell you, as you write every book you learn many things. You learn different techniques in writing and ways to make characters more vibrant. I'm working on some revisions to some of my first books. I might even do a couple of cover changes. So, as the weeks go on I'll be announcing some new releases and old made new releases. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Starting with a good foundation

Writing a book is not as easy as it looks. There are so many steps to making a readable novel. Of course you can just write a story and publish it without following the needed steps, but I don't recommend it. Make sure what you put out to the public is the best it can be. As I stated in my post about polishing it up, take the steps to make it the best it can be. This starts with a good foundation. You don't want to build your house on shifting sands, so why build your story on a whim. Writers are full of stories, it's the way we're made. A story line comes to us and we immediately start writing, but in many cases we need to sit down and make sure that the story line is strong enough to hold up a novel to the end. If you can't make the story line hold up the whole book then you might want to rethink the process. Sit down with the story idea. Think it out. See where the story goes in your mind. Most of the stories that come into my head actually keep poking at me until I do this. You all know how I am about outlines and yes, I know some of you are groaning, but they help keep the story in line or somewhat in line. Also, you need to make sure that the story idea will keep a reader involved and interested throughout the middle part and the ending. If the story does not have enough backbone to hold out to the end, you might want to rethink it. Sometimes when you sit down and really give it some thought you can make it work. A writer has a way of making the story come alive and evolve. That's what your story line idea has to do, evolve. Using an outline can help build the foundation of the story. You can sway some from the outline, but make sure that the story stays consistent so that it follows neatly behind the leader. Don't forget the reason for the story, the backbone of the story. That's what builds the foundation on a sturdy foundation, not a sinking sand foundation. Make your book the best it can be, so start off right. Do your homework. Writing a book takes work, so give it your all. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday, Monday, Monday

As I sit here sipping my 2nd cup of coffee trying to get my eyes to stay open, I notice the clouds moving in. Yep, we're expecting rain here in the south today. I had a busy but wonderful weekend. Saturday was the Easter Egg hunt at our Church. That was really fun, but lots of work. It was worth it. Then yesterday was my hubby's birthday. Also after Church several members (including my family) got the sanctuary ready for Easter and the Spring season. Considering our Church is three stories, yep I got my exercise. No need to work out today. For all my American friends tomorrow is the last day of non extension tax season. That means I'll be slammed with tax work today and tomorrow, but I'm taking the last three days of this week off. I plan to get some writing in that has been put to the wayside for the last couple of weeks. This is a reminder to all my writer friends. Make sure that you claimed your royalties and the expenses that you had. Don't forget all those advertising sites, production fees, programs purchased to help with your writing, computers and printers, website fees, dues and subscription fees for all those sites you joined, and the many more expenses we writers incur in a year. If you received a 1099 for your royalties, don't ignore them because the IRS won't. Hope everyone has a blessed Monday and don't forget to smile today, it's your day so make it over the moon! As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Stephanie Hurt - The Independent Author Network

Stephanie Hurt - The Independent Author Network

The delete button is painful...

Ok, how many of you have had to hit the delete button? If you've ever worked on a computer you've eventually hit the delete button. Some of you are probably wondering what I'm talking about. Well, for a writer, delete can be a dreaded, horribly painful button. Your finger hovers over it fighting with you not to do. Your finger screams "NOOOOO", but eventually you force it to do what you've told it to do. Now, let's get past my dramatic description to the meaning of this post. I was working the other day on one of my books when I hit a brick wall. The unfortunate thing about this brick wall is it was very high and wide, no way around it. Suddenly the story just ended suddenly. What do you do when you hit that dreaded brick wall in a story? Is it too early to end the story, or do you just end it there? Well, in some instances the story just ends there, but what happens when you know the story needs to go further in this book? If it's a part of a series, well you just start the new book on the other side of the wall, but if it's a stand alone, well, you've got to get past that wall. But how? I sat staring at my screen, unable to think about the inevitable. After much thought and wondering what happened, I finally took a look at my outline. I was confused because it was going along so well and then I ran smack into a wall. Why? Then as I read down the many lines of my outline I realized what I'd done. Duh!!! Ok, so I'm blonde, I'm given at least one, maybe two blonde moments in a day. What I'd done was skip a couple of pivotal story line turns. For some reason I'd totally jumped over some very important happenings in the book. I'd actually skipped several chapters. You may be saying, how on earth did you do that? Well, if you're a writer you may be saying, yep, been there done that. That night I didn't start writing until late in the evening after a long day of tax return preparation. I was exhausted and just wanted to get lost in my manuscript. That's the problem, I got lost in my own manuscript. Sometimes when you're really tired, you just need to step back and do something else. Maybe design a cover or work on some character descriptions, but beware if you step into a manuscript. I had to delete three chapters, yes you read it right, three whole chapters. I'd totally skipped several chapters of important parts that would lead correctly up to the end of the book. My brain had literally skipped some of the main plot rendering parts of the manuscripts. As I read through what I'd typed it began to become obvious. All I could do was delete. You may be asking why I didn't copy the work and then paste into the end after I entered the needed work. Well, the ending I'd typed did not actually go along with the missing work. That's another reason I map out the work that comes into my brain. If life steps in and walks all over my memory, well then I have some reminders written into the outline. It totally saved the manuscript. Needless to say, it will take a little longer to finish, but at least it will be complete as it should be, not just a quick ending to the story. So, a little piece of advice. If you need some help with your manuscripts flow, sit back and take a deep breath. Then try out an outline, it really saved me this time and definitely saved the story. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What's in a review?

I've blogged about reviews before and each time I get a lot of response from fellow authors. Reviews can do a lot for an author. They can cause readers to flock to your book, run away from your book or make them unsure. I've been reading several posts from fellow authors regarding the trend in reviews and in some ways its not good. As I've said before, if you're thinking about reviewing a book, please read the book first. It's so evident to an author when a reviewer hasn't even read the book. Let's take a look at some of the things fellow authors have told me about some of their reviews that either made them laugh, cry or smile. Some may have caused all of these emotions. 1: I really enjoyed this book but I'm giving it a 2 star because I didn't like the characters name. (This author was shocked when she saw this review. What's funny is, even though it's a 2 star review, which should be bad for the sales, the reviewer told readers it's a good book.) 2: This book is horrible. Why did it have to be so unrealistic? People just can't do this in real life. (Ok, this one made me laugh out loud. The book being reviewed was a Paranormal book about mythical creatures. I do give the reviewer credit, people really can't do what the characters did in this book because they aren't real. This author's book sales actually escalated after this review.) 3: Why? Please stop this. I didn't like this book at all. (This reviewer went on to email the author directly and tell her to stop writing. The author smiled as she was telling me about this review because she actually has hit the bestseller list in several countries with the very book this reviewer slammed. Her response was "It takes all kinds to make up the world". By the way, this book is free and the reviewer did not pay for it to begin with.) 4: Great book. I can't wait for more from this author. Waiting impatiently for next installment. (This author was thrilled with this review. It was her first book and she was afraid it wouldn't do well.) 5: I loved the book, but could have been a little more descriptive. The writing was good and the character development was well received. (This was a constructive review that was helpful to the author. She said that actually she went back and edited a couple of areas of the book to correct these issues.) This was just 5 of the responses I received after my last post on reviews. We rely on reviewers to be honest about their reviews of our work. The sad thing is many people out there are not very nice when they review a book. They strive to make the author look bad. What's really sad is that a post I read a couple of months ago, several authors were slammed repeatedly on Amazon and the reviewers were not verified purchases. The wording went along the same line and did not mention anything from the book. The reviewer was slamming the author themselves. It's sad but true. My advice to new authors or even veteran authors that haven't developed a thick skin is this. Use the reviews wisely. If the review is structured and they explain the flaws they see, then maybe check the flaws out. It could help. But if they're nasty and scathing, just let them roll off your back. It's hard, but as a published writer, you've opened yourself up to the public and sometimes they aren't very nice. So, tell me your experiences with reviews. How do you react? Just remember, smile you're a published author. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Monday, March 31, 2014

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Guest post from Sonya Loveday

First off, I want everyone to meet my friend and fellow author Sonya Loveday. Sonya Loveday, first and foremost is a reader, an avid one. It is of that love that brought her to the realization that this was the answer to the nagging persistent feeling that ‘there’s got to be something more’. The dream came alive in 2009 when she purchased her laptop and began the tedious step of becoming a published author. When she’s not reading, she’s writing. When she’s not writing, she’s reading. And when she’s not doing either of those things she’s sleeping, shuttling her children back and forth to school, letting the dogs and cats in and out of the house for the umpteenth time in the last hour and dreaming of a clean house. You can find Sonya Loveday on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Wordpress on the links below: http://www.facebook.com/sonyalovedayauthor?ref=hl http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/11660396-sonya-loveday https://twitter.com/SonyaLoveday - @SonyaLoveday www.sonyaloveday@wordpress.com Now I want to give you a look at her newest book which will be released officially March 31st. If the cover doesn't draw you in then the description will. I just love her covers.
This looks to be an awesome book. But let's not forget the 1st book in this series. Casted came out July 2013.
If this doesn't pull you in, well you need to go back to the start of this post and try again. Let's go out and support Sonya. As always, good writing and May God Bless you...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

It's Spring! I'm so over Winter!

Well, today around lunch time it will become officially Spring. Of course that doesn't mean that Winter has let go of it's grip here in the US. Here in Georgia we're looking at cold temps next week and yep, a hint was given about a possible snow scenario coming really close to us next week. Really, we live in the South and for some reason Mother Nature has forgotten that. Oh well, we'll deal with it as it comes. When you think of Spring you usually think of Spring cleaning and refreshing everything around you. For me it's crunch time in tax season and that means I'm up to my elbows in tax returns. My writing usually suffers some during this time of the year. I can't keep my brain solidly on a story line when I finally get back into the house at night. But I think maybe I can go through my old manuscripts and do some refreshing. I've spoken several times about revising older releases and making them new. Usually when you do this you change the cover and give the book a new outlook. I'm planning on a couple of revisions in the next couple of weeks. I'm also following some advice from a couple of my reviewers. Also, this is a good time to clean up your files on your computer. In the Winter we get bogged down in the Winter time slow down of our brain. We let junk emails pile up, we let old, unuseful files pile up. Well, let's clean up that computer and get ready for the Spring/Summer inspiration that comes to most writers. I write more in the Spring/Summer time period. So if the computer is clean and ready, you can write unhindered. So, how are you Spring Cleaning your writing? As always, Good Writing and May God Bless You...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Where are you headed? Not Sure?

That's a hard question sometimes. Most people have no idea where they're headed in life. They just take like as it comes and usually don't make plans for the future. Do you have a plan? Have you got your future in mind or just living in the past? Life is full of turns, curves, stop signs, yields and just plan out warning signals that go unattended. How do you plan to see it through? Do you live life by the seat of your pants, never knowing which way to go when you get to the fork in the road? Most of us stand that this fork and stare straight ahead, confused and not sure what happens next. This happens so many times with writers. You write your manuscript, but now what? Do you publish it? Do you take a chance with a traditional publisher, but then again do you take a chance self publishing it? This is a hard question to ask yourself, but if you want to become a writer, it's a question that needs an answer. What's your goal? Here's a couple of road blocks that can come along: 1: Turns: This happens after you type The End. Are you self disciplined enough to self publish? Are you patient enough to wait on a traditional publisher? 2: Curves: Well you've made the decision as to how you want to publish your work. What now? If you decide to self publish the road can have many curves and you have to be disciplined enough to take those curves and move forward carefully. If you decide to send it to a traditional publisher, then the curves can be a long time coming and then when they do can you handle the possibility of a 90 degree curve when they either accept it or reject it? 3: Stop Signs: This is when you come to a complete halt. Either your manuscript is completely rejected by a traditional publisher or you decide to self publish and you have no idea where to go from here. That happens, how do you pull away from that stop sign? 4: Yield: With self publishing you have to know when to slow down and take the next step carefully. You need to be patient and slow down before going forward. This is also a good way to handle turning over your manuscript to a traditional publisher. Have you had your manuscript edited by someone other than yourself? One of the easiest way to be rejected by either way you publish is to send in your manuscript before it's ready. Don't run straight through the yield without slowing and taking a second look. 5: Warning signs: Also follow the warning signs. Don't jump into the frying pan without being ready for the burn. If you don't handle the business as it needs to be handled you will end up getting burned, rejected and ignored in the market. Remember writing is a business and the second you decide to publish, you're a writer and that's a business. Run it with that in mind. So, where are you headed? Do you know your plan? Before you take that huge step into publishing, figure it out. Know what you want to achieve and make a plan. Don't go into it without knowing the risks. If you want to self publish and don't know where to go from the words The End, check out the publishing service that I'm a partner in, Horseshoe Publishing. We strive to help authors move forward and put out the best product they can. The link to what we do is at the top of my page. We are offering a Spring Into Action 25% off special, so check us out. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Are you using your voice?

Ok, I know that's a strange question, but hear me out. I'm talking about your author's voice. That voice that speaks to you and drives you to write. You know that voice, it's the one that wakes you in the middle of the night, the one that keeps your mind off everything around you, and it's the one that nudges you to write that next chapter before bedtime. Yeah, you know it. All writers hear it, some ignore it, but you hear it. But the question is, are you using your voice? Have you listened to others and changed to suit them, but not you? Yes, we need to listen to our critics, but if we totally change our voice aren't we denying our inner talent. When you write from your heart it shows. When you listen to that voice in your head you use your writer's voice. If you change that and don't listen to your own voice, then where does the story come from. Well, it would have to come from somewhere outside of your head, which means you're not using your voice. It's your writer's voice that makes you the writer. It's that voice that gives you the stories you write, the emotions, the complexity of characters. So, if you don't use your own voice, then what next? Did you know that your voice determines the genre you write in? If your voice leans toward romance, then you write romance, if it leans toward science fiction, then you'll write science fiction. You get the picture, right? Well, I've talked to writer's that listened to critics and other people and they changed their voice. But it wasn't a good change, it was a tragic change. Their writing went downhill. Yes, we all need to edit our voice, I mean we're not perfect in no means, but we don't need to edit our voice. I had a reviewer tell me one time that I needed to add some tequila shots to one of my books. She went on to explain that she thought it needed to have more heated love scenes. Well, I'm sorry, but that's not my voice. She liked the book, but wanted more steamy sex scenes. My writing voice leans more toward the calmer romance voice. I have no problem with steamier books, but it's just not my voice. That's why we have authors that write in that voice. I lean more toward the heart warming romance. But that's just the way I write. I have many great author friends that write steamy romance and I love their books. They in turn read mine and appreciate it also. We understand that all of us has a different voice. So, are you following your voice? Are you listening to that inner part of you that makes your writing exclusively yours? Remember to follow your heart and not follow what's popular now. You never know, you could start a new voice or popular culture. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Character Interview...

Today I'm interviewing the main character from "Finding The Right Time". She's a journalist go getter that has a problem. I'll be talking with her about the issues and how she plans to work through them. SH: Good morning Lily! LS: Good morning. SH: Let's get right to the problem at hand. The dreams you've had since childhood still haunt you. Have you had any luck finding out why those dreams are important? LS: Actually, now that I've moved to Savannah the dreams have come to a head. The house in my dream is the house I'm renting now. Also, the man I'm renting from looks a lot like the man in my dream. SH: That's interesting. I heard you speak of time travel. How does that come into play? LS: Well, that put me in a tailspin. I've been drawn to the cemetery on the land. When I went to the cemetery, something strange came over me. I was transported to 1865 and to the man in my dreams. Rafe is a good man and he loves me. SH: But aren't you in love with Anthony, his great great grandson? LS: (She smiles) Well, that's part of the problem. It's as though they are the same man, but I know that can't be. I'm having a difficult time with this problem. It's hard when you love two men with all your heart. SH: That is definitely a problem. Do they know that you love them both? LS: I've made Anthony aware of it, but Rafe refuses to talk about it. How can I be in love with two men from different times? SH: That's quite a quandry that you're in. What's your plan? LS: I'm not sure at this point. I love Rafe dearly and also I love Anthony. They're both wonderful men. I'm drawn to Rafe by unknown forces and that keeps me going back. I pray that I make a decision really soon. SH: Well, let's hope the decision you make helps and you can make peace with it. LS: Thanks. I do hope the same thing. SH: Thanks for meeting with me today. LS: Thanks for writing me into your novel. I do hope all of your readers enjoy reading about what I do next. It could be a surprise and a pleasant ending or maybe not :) I do hope you enjoyed this little interview. The story of Lily's time travel romance is a many faceted thing. It's a wonderful love story that brings things that are important to us to the forefront. It's on preorder now on Smashwords. Check it out. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Monday, March 3, 2014

Character Lists, Organizing Them...

As a writer you learn many tricks of the trade. For me I outline almost every book from start to finish. Of course as the story develops so does the outline. One of the most important factors in the writing process is the character list. It helps keep you from renaming a character mid book. Yeah, I did this. *Grinning* Also helps you remember the different aspects of the characters that don't take forefront in the story. Of course I didn't learn this nifty little practice until about 5 books in. It really stinks when you're in the midst of writing and suddenly you can't remember what one of the side characters does for a living. I always keep my character outline at the bottom of my screen. It sits there ready for action when I need it. I just pull it up and get the info and bam, I'm back to writing. The book that I used this the most was 'Victoria'. She had 5 brothers and they had wives and children too. All of the characters played a part in the story so I had to remember what wife went with what brother. Also, in this one I had a timeline beside me too. I'll get into that in another blog. But if I didn't have that list, it would have been a nightmare. This outline started out on paper, handwritten, but after I lost it once I put it in my computer so that it was available at a moment's notice. This also helps with series. That way you can pull from this all the way throughout. You can add new characters and new additions to old characters. It's a wonderful tool and so easy to set up. So, if you're writing a book and don't have a character list, then I suggest setting one up. It helps immensely to have a mini bio on your characters. List their likes, dislikes. If your character has blonde hair, put it down. If they are vegetarian's thats important to make a note of. Also if they have a scar or disability, definitely worth a mention in the bio. This also helps if you decide to do a question answer session with your characters. These are really fun! As always, good writing and May God Bless You... Don't forget that "Finding the Right Time" is available for Pre Order on Smashwords.com. It should be up this week on Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Apple iTunes. It's only .99 while on Pre Order, but will go to $3.99 on March 31st when the official release date hits.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday Post...

I am revisiting an old post from almost 2 years ago. Wow, it's hard to believe I've been blogging this long. Anyhow, this was one of my more popular posts from my blog over at CreateSpace. If you're a fan, try to figure out which book I was working on. It was one of my favs. Also, do you notice something missing from this post that is always on my posts? Third Cup of Coffee! Posted by SHurt on Sep 13, 2012 1:29:57 PM Well, it's Thursday morning. My son is at school and my hubby has gone to work. My mind in swirling with words to put into my current book. I am so excited about this new one. I just can't seem to type fast enough to get the words out of my head. I can see the whole ending and I am chomping at the bit or keys as it would be. I worked last night in between watching "The Voice". My son kept looking at me like I was crazy. I was actually smiling and chewing my lip as I typed. Have you ever been so into a manuscript that your every thought was focused on it? I had a new thought yesterday for a new spin that has totally rocked my manuscript. One of my characters is going totally on another direction from the original thought. It is funny how your mind works when you are into a manuscript. You think you have the right answers, but as you type your mind goes ahead of your fingers and totally changes everything. It is so cool how the process just develops on the scope of the work. I can't tell you where the idea is going, because that would be a "spoiler". I can tell you that my editor/assistant read up to what I had finished yesterday and she is now not speaking to me. She said she could not believe that I let her read it to that point and left her hanging over a cliff with no reprieve. I just smiled and knew I had accomplished what I wanted. I know I have said other books were my favorite, but I can honestly say this one has taken 1st prize in my heart. I have honed my writing skills and took into account different reviews of my other books. I have changed techniques and ways of describing characters and places. Just can't wait to type the end, but then again it has been such a big part of my life for the past month or so that I will probably have withdrawals. LOL!!!?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Funny questions writer's are asked...

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photo credit: akahodag via photopin cc Ok, if you're a writer you know the questions I'm talking about. Sometimes I just have to laugh and try my best to answer the question in the best way I can as I laugh. It's funny the things that people think about writers. I had to post this picture because you know I love horses and these questions make them laugh too. Here are some of the zingers that have been asked of me: 1: My favorite is "Did you write that book from an experience you had in your own life? That's where most writers get their stories right?" Well, some of them have been from experiences but if my life was like a fairy tale, wow how would that be. Then I think of murder mystery writers and have to cringe. If all writing was strictly from personal experience the police would tail all writers obsessively! 2: Can you introduce me to your cover model? Really, you've got to be kidding me. I've never met any of my cover models. I did get a repin on Pinterest from one of them thanking me for using his picture on a couple of my covers. I was pleased, but I don't know him personally so no, I can't introduce you to my cover models. 3: You must be rich, huh? This one makes me laugh hard, really hard. Most published writers do it in their spare time and have a regular job. If not, we'd be really hungry artists. So, no, I'm not rich, not even close. I'm happy with my royalties and thankful to my wonderful fans, but I'm not quite ready to quit my day job. 4: So you can't get published for real? This one ticked me off the first couple of times I heard it, but then I realized that there are so many people who don't realize that a lot of authors do consider this a real business and take it seriously. This is a personal choice and I have been approached by publishers, but I am happy where I am for the time being. Then if it's someone I'm close to I stick my tongue out at them in a very unladylike fashion and laugh. It's become a really funny question as self publishing becomes the norm. So to me it's a funny question. 5: Can I have your autograph? Now this one stunned me. Then I laughed because I'm not famous and this seems a little crazy, but I was humbled by it too. But I did laugh because I don't think of it as being famous because I have several published books, but it's really funny when someone comes up to me in a store and says, hey you're that writer. What funny questions have people asked you? Some people might not think some of them are funny, but to a writer you'll find the humor in them. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Morning Wake Up Post

If you haven't realized it yet, yep it's Monday folks. School started back today after a very long break due to the ice storm and then Winter Break. The alarm clock went off at 6:00 this morning and it was rough. I'm working on my second cup of coffee and contemplating my third. Of course with Tax season in full swing my day is full of appointments for drop offs and pick ups. But for another hour I get to sit and enjoy my coffee, work on my upcoming book release and relax. This is my time when I can quietly work on things in the house. I already have a load of laundry and a load of dishes going. But more importantly I have a book to finish. Since I'm working on my first time travel romance, I'm excited about the upcoming release. I'm doing this one a little differently than my other books. It's going to have a pre-order available through Smashwords. The pre-order will be on Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes and Kobo. I will be running several giveaways and some free books to select people that win the drawings. The contest will be announced this week so keep watching. Several of my books will be up for grabs to those that pre-order my book and send me a picture of their pre-order confirmation, but I'll announce the rules soon. As for the book that's coming out, I think my fans will be surprised. I'm hoping it will be a pleasant surprise. This is a little step away from my normal writing, but of course there is still a handsome cowboy and horses, I have to keep that going. But I've never delved into the time travel genre. It's been a great experience and I think it's a story that will make you think and wonder all the way to the end, which is an interesting ending. So, how are you spending your Monday morning? How many cups of coffee does it take to get you going? Let me know I'm not the only coffee addict... As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Good or bad, it's your choice...

When you sat down to write your first manuscript you made the choice to do that. You decided that it was time to put your thoughts on paper and it was the right choice for you at that moment. But what then? Would you decide to publish it? How would you do that? Would you go traditional or self publish? Decisions, Decisions! It's a critical choice in any writer's mind. I talked to a writer not too long ago that has written several complete manuscripts but she was confused as to what road to take. She actually contacted me with the hopes of getting a little more insight into how I chose the path I did. As I told her it's really as simple as making a list and figuring out what's best for you. For me, I had other options than self publishing, but it was a good fit for me, maybe not for others. After I had self published a couple of books I received "THE CALL" that all authors love to receive. It was a rather large publishing house that I'd heard of and actually had several books in my library published through them. The gentleman was nice and had knowledge of my books and style of writing. He'd actually read one of them and was interested in putting it under their label. Of course my heart did a quick pitter patter, but then I started asking questions. I'm a very analytical person, so I had questions. What are you planning to do for my book that I don't already do? What's the royalty percentage? Will I lose my rights? Turns out I was better off where I was at. The royalties were 1/2 of what I was already making and yes I had to sign my rights to my work over to them and then the promotional package they offered for a nice little sum was exactly what I was already doing on my own for free. I kindly thanked him and said I'd keep his number. He hounded me for a couple of months with different 'offers', but I stayed true to my decision. Here's a couple of things that you need to decide on before you make the choice: 1: Do you have the discipline to do the marketing and social media presence that's needed to keep your name available? 2: What about the business end of publishing? Can you handle all the ins and outs of the publishing business? Self Publishing is a business and it can take some time to put things together. 3: What type of royalties are you looking at? If higher royalties are needed, then self publishing my be the route to go, but be aware of the needs of self publishing. 4: You're in charge of getting a cover made, either you design it or you hire someone to do it. Remember this is the first thing someone will see and first impressions are valuable. 5: Editing is still a must even with self publishing. I know that we all think our work is great, but it needs to be edited by someone other than your best friend. Editing is important. Of course I could go on and on, but this is a couple of things I told the author. She sat for a moment thinking and then she told me that this had helped her start the decision process. Either way you go, it's your choice. If you send your manuscript to a traditional publisher, be patient. If they like what they see it'll happen. Take their advice and use it. If you choose self publishing, please take it seriously. You are in the hot seat if you choose this route. Either way you go, it's your choice. You're in charge of this decision. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What's your favorite romance genre?

Have you noticed the many varied genre's in romance books lately? You can pretty much find a romance novel or novella that is about anything you want. Some of the categories are a little scary and some just go beyond your imagination or my imagination. In writing romance I go with things I love or I'm passionate about. Some romance writers lean more toward the mystery genre, some toward the erotic genre and others toward the suspenseful. Most of my writing as you know lean heavily in the cowboy romance side of it, a couple of them are Christian romance and one that's coming out soon is a Time Travel but of course it has a cowboy ;) Did you ever start searching for a book and had to look up a genre because you had no idea what it was? I'm raising my hand because I've had several that needed some investigation.I wasn't sure what they were about. Of course some of those I have to look up I really wish I hadn't even went there. But that's just me. So, everybody should be able to find a romance that fits their style. The possibilities are endless if you search, but beware of what you search for. You might find something that gives you nightmares or in the very least the shivers. What genre do you love the most? As always, good writing and May God Bless You... Check out my new Christian Romance "Faith Through The Tears" the 2nd installment in the Lean On Him series. http://www.amazon.com/Faith-Through-Tears-Christian-Romance-ebook/dp/B00IHQKO2S https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-faiththroughthetears-1425289-149.html https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/409456

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day - A Romance Author's Favorite Day...

Today of all day's is for romance. Maybe you don't have a significant other, but you can still curl up with a good book of romance or a romantic movie. Romance is in the air as we start this day. Luckily here in Georgia the sun is shining and the ice is almost just a memory as it faded into the soaked ground. As most of you know I love anything romance. I'm like an old soul with romance. I think it is needed in any relationship. I know, you're saying that it's not possible in some relationships, but it is. It could be the look in your eye for your lover, or maybe the little things you do to make things special. Maybe it's a little note in their wallet or on their pillow that can just have your kiss on it to make them smile. Romance is such a simple thing that can so mystifying. I was drawn to romance as a teenager with my first romance novel and it's been all uphill since then. I've always pined for that moment in a book when their hands touch and you just know it's the real thing. I get so excited that I'll sit up half the night reading to get to the end, hopefully a happy ending. Today is an important day to bring in some romance. Go all out. Everyone has candles in their house. Light a few. Even if you have children, make it a family thing. The kids have to go to bed eventually. Send him a look across the table that promises romance to come. You have to make time each week for each other. It's important to keep the romance and surprises going. It doesn't cost anything to leave a cute note for them. So try it and let me know how it goes. If you need to find a great romance novel, go to avonromance.com and you'll find anything you need in romance novels. It's a great site to shop from. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Faith Through The Tears in final stages!

As you know I've had several works in progress. One in particular is "Faith Through The Tears" which is the 2nd book in the Lean On Him Christian Romance Series. I'm in the final stages of it and getting really excited. If things go well, I look to have it up and run this weekend. It still has a couple of nudges and tweaks, but it's going smoothly. It's amazing when you get in the groove and everything just falls into place. Since the cover has been completed for months that makes the process much smoother. Now it's down to those pesky little edits that plague every writer. But this one has been close to my heart so I look forward to the final read through before we hit publish. Let me give you a little hint of what this book is all about. It's a continuation of come of the characters from "With All My Heart". It starts with Randy and Rachel's love story and her battle with cancer. But it takes a sad turn and yes, it's a box of tissues kind of book. I cried the whole time I wrote the first half of this book. It just tore at my heart. A couple of months ago I posted the first chapter on Avon Romance's blog site and I received responses ranging from 'you made me cry' to 'I've got to know how this comes out'. It's so exciting when you can grab the reader with just an excerpt. This book has some surprises from the first book regarding Luke and Amanda. So many readers fell in love with their story of faith and love through the challenges. I've brought out some of their lives too. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with this one. It's filled with tremendous faith and the challenges that life brings when you lose your soul mate. So, I hope everyone is staying warm and safe from the world's crazy weather patterns. But for now it's time to pick up the ledgers and get back to accounting. At least I'm in a beautiful environment with the snow covered back ground behind me. But bring on Spring! As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

As the fire crackles and the pines crack!

Here we go again, but this time it's ice. I live in the south. For pity's sake where did the southern weather go? As I sit at my dining room where I've set up my laptop so that I can work, I hear the crackling of the fire in the den. But behind me is a set of french doors that lead onto our back patio, from there you hear the snap, crackle, and pop of the pine trees that can't hold the weight of the building ice. I did venture out earlier to grab some paperwork from my office and I could actually smell fresh pine. It's like I was walking into a room with a pine air freshener. I love snow, but not ice. Ice is dangerous and usually cause massive power outages. Luckily at the moment we have power, but it's flickered a couple of times. Even northerners have to say ice is different than snow to deal with. When we had snow a couple of weeks ago, people were still on the roads a little bit, but when you have ice it's eerily quiet. Of course the cold has brought out the beautiful red birds. I love to watch them as they poke around for a bit of food. I've got to admit the ice on the trees is beautiful, but the danger still looms. I'm staying inside for now and hoping for the best. As for my writing, I made some large headway last night on finishing up "Faith Through The Tears". I actually powered through almost 5000 words as the story unfolded in my head. I'm so excited about this installment to the "Lean On Him" Christian Series. Of course I'm working steadily on my other works in progress. It's fun to be a writer and get to live in so many different worlds with my characters. One moment I'm in a small town and the next I'm on a horse ranch or maybe I'm on a beach in Savannah. I get to experience so much diversity through my characters and they become a part of me. It's an awe inspiring experience. I do hope that all of you are warm and safe. Also a shout out to my friends across the pond as you're experiencing really scary winds. I send my prayers for everyone to stay safe. Bundle up with a good book and ride out the storm in another world. As for me, as long as I have power I'll be working on accounting, but if the power goes out I have several books and plenty of paper. The work will go on by candle light which could bring on a whole new inspiration. As always, good writing and may God Bless You and keep you safe...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Decisions and another ice storm!

If you've seen the weather reports well here it comes again. Today it starts as rain, then turning to freezing rain, then to sleet and finally a light snow. Oh Joy! Here we go again. I can handle the snow, it's pretty, but the ice is not. That means possible power outages and that's not a good thing. As I told in my post last week, I had to replace one of my computers this weekend. OH, but the fun didn't end there. Yesterday my main printer went out. Yep, I've got a monkey on my back and he's not very friendly. But all in all I've kept up the good attitude that always follows me. I've tried to keep it light, but my pocketbook sure isn't happy... I've got a couple of days to decide whether I'm going to enter the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. I'd originally thought this was a definite decision, but as I do further thinking I just don't know. It's a great contest to enter, but I'm being pulled in another direction. A little birdy has put a different direction for this book into my ear. I'm praying on it and working through my indecision. Hopefully by Sunday I'll have a answer. Writers are constantly making decisions. They range from settings, main character descriptions, genres, plots, covers, blurbs, publishing, editing, and so many more. Sometimes I spend more time on this than writing which is not a good thing. In order to meet your writing goals, it's important to know what direction you're headed in. Try to stay on the road forward, sometimes those side roads lead in the wrong direction. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Monday, February 10, 2014

Looking back at old posts...

I've been blogging for almost two years. It's been such a wild ride. This weekend I was going back through some of my more popular posts. This is one from my CreateSpace blog. If you didn't know this I have several blogs going. What can I say, I like to multi-task... First things First. You write the romance novel. Posted by SHurt on Aug 6, 2012 1:41:24 PM Well, I have been writing stories for as long as I can remember. The storylines came easily to me. That was the easy part. The hard part was putting it on paper. I could always see the story from start to finish, but it was the in between that got complicated. I decided to go old school. I sat down one day and made an outline of the story in my head. The outline ended up having 18 sections. SO, that was my story in a condensed version. I took the outline to the computer and started. I used each section of the outline to fill in my story. I would expand the section until it filled a chapter, sometimes two. Before I knew it, two months later, I had a completed manuscript. I looked at the manuscript in awe. I had finally done it. I had completed a whole story from beginning to end. Now what! ON my next blog I will continue the story. Get to writing. It can be very stress relieving. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Friday, February 7, 2014

Revisiting an Old Friend

As I wrote a couple of days ago, I'll be revamping some of my first books. They'll be longer and more descriptive. I've always gained more knowledge over the last couple of years regarding different wording and such. I'm excited about it. I started working some last night on the remake of Ghost Lover which is the first book I published in May 2012. Don't worry for those that are waiting on the release of two of my upcoming books, they're still in the works. But as I opened the dusty file of Ghost Lover I had to smile. This was my baby. I read the first couple of words and it was like revisiting an old friend. When you write a book you get to know your characters personally. As you write each word and describe each character in detail you gain so much love for your characters. When the book is finished it's like a sad moment. But, when you revisit the book it's exciting. I've been changing several aspects, but the feeling of the book stays the same. It's even going to have new categories. I've playing with the idea of changing the cover a little to honor the newly polished work since it is changing slightly. But the cowboy on the cover will stay the same because I just simply love him. I hope everyone is enjoying their Friday. Yeah, it's finally Friday. I hope to post some this weekend on my progress, but I'm going to be busy putting programs into a new office computer. Yep, my tax program was way too large for my laptop, so I had to purchase a new desktop to replace my other desktop. Didn't see that one coming, but that's life. Good thing it's tax season and that will more than pay for the new computer. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Writing, the experience

I've experienced so many emotions as I write. It's amazing the things that go through your mind as you push out that story. You know what I'm talking about if you're a writer. Sometimes it's that feeling that makes you think you're going crazy. Ok, so maybe not every writer experiences this, but I do and I've talked to several authors who say the same thing. Here's what I'm talking about. It's the feeling of getting lost in the story. You get filled with the characters emotions and actions. It takes over your brain and at times you have to shake your head to get it out. I've been so lost in my writing that I'd block out everything around me. My family sometimes have to actually nudge me because I can't hear them. One of my books has a kidnapping section in it and when I was writing this scene I actually felt my heart racing with fear. It was as if I was feeling the fear my character felt. I know it sounds crazy, but it's the emotional bond you have with the characters you write. When the character was rescued I actually sighed with relief. Then you have those moments when you're out somewhere or working at your day job and the writing bug hits. It's like the flu. It hits quickly and rapidly takes your thinking processes away from what you're doing. The symptoms can range from breaking out into a sweat, intense staring (Nobody or no one person is immune to that stare), itchy fingers, the loss of logical speaking, and then the immense need to find something, anything to write on. It can be a napkin, envelope, gum wrapper(that's not the best thing but it works), or any writing surface that presents itself in front of you. I have notes everywhere, it's crazy. Of course the worst feeling for a writer is the dreaded writer's block. You're sitting there writing and all of a sudden you lose the whole feeling for the story. Your mind goes completely blank. It's as though the book in your mind has been erased and all you see is a blank page. You sit with your fingers poised above the keyboard, you break out into a sweat, you're disoriented and confused about the new feeling, then you get concerned. Maybe you have a deadline and this is not the time to draw a complete blank. The funny thing is minutes earlier your brain had the whole story completely outlined and now NOTHING! The best feeling to me is when you hit publish. Of course it's the most scariest feeling too. You're euphoric at finishing your baby that you've fed, cleaned and babied for what seems like forever and then you have to send it away. Then it hit's you, oh my goodness I just finished a novel and put it in someone's hands. Now you wait. You wait for the responses, the sales (this you just hope to see something), the criticism, and the rewards. Hitting that publish button can cause you a moment of every emotion imaginable. For me it's really a strange feeling when someone you don't know comes up to you in a store or event and says 'hey, you're that romance writer'. I know I turn red as a beet. I'm not a person that loves for someone to shower me with praises. I'm a shy person at those times. I get embarassed and excited all at the same time. Of course the hidden diva inside is jumping up and down, squealing with delight, but I'm not a diva on the outside by no means. There are so many emotions and experiences a writer goes through. It's different for everyone, but it all comes down to the experience of a writer. I love being a writer and expressing my love for the craft. It brings me great joy and it's a thing of pride to hold a finished book in my hands. I hope you find the joy of writing that I've found. Smile, someone might be reading your finished book at this very moment. You may be changing someones life with your writing. If you've been holding back on pushing that publish button then you're not giving yourself enough credit. Do it. You'll feel better after you do. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

How do you keep the Romance?

Today is the 20th Anniversary of my marriage to my hubby. It's hard to believe that we've been together for 20 years. That's a lot of water under the bridge. So, how do you keep the romance going for 20 years? Well let me give you some tips. By the way I use these in my writing as well :) 1: Never, ever go to bed mad. Not only does this cause you to have a sleepless night, but you don't get the problem resolved. 2: Always make time for your spouse. Even with a teenager in the house we find time for just us. That's a big priority. 3: Any time we part either to go to work, or to bed we always say "I Love You". Those are 3 very important words in a marriage. Without them you've got a serious problem. 4: Never shout at one another, well, not in anger. One day we'll have to shout for the other one to hear, but that's hopefully way down the road. 5: If you have a disagreement, which everybody does from time to time, just step back and take a breath. That always helps to get a little of the tension away. Then calmy discuss it and work it out. I know that was only 5, but I can't give away all my secrets. I've been lucky to have a good, hard working, handsome, caring, husband and father to our son. It's been a blast that's for sure. So, go give your hubby or signicant other a big kiss and tell them how you feel. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Dust it off and see what happens

This weekend I was working on The Winner Takes All which is the 2nd book in The Winner series. I had to bring out the first book for a couple of references and as I read it was like visiting an old friend. I actually read a couple of chapters before I knew what I was doing. But I did see some things I'd like to change or expand on. Funny how that happens as you start to learn more about your craft. I've had a couple of fans say they'd like to know more back story of some of the characters in a couple of my books. One lady even put in a review that she'd love to see me expand one of my books. She loved the book so much that she wanted to know more about the back story of some of the characters. Well, that got me to thinking about doing just that. Of course, you know me, I did some research on authors revisiting old stories and was amazed at how many famous authors have done this. Even their best sellers they've revisited them and some even revamped the covers and did a whole re-release campaign. So, don't be shocked if I don't revisit a couple of my books. I actually have some ideas for a couple of them. Have you ever did this? Have you read a book lately that you wanted more of the story? It's funny how you love a story but you want to hear more about a particular character. Well, I've listened to these requests from my fans and plan on do just that. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Monday, February 3, 2014

Cowboys, Cowboys Everywhere...

I've written posts on this before and it's still true. Everywhere I look I see cowboys. Romance books, commercials, movies, they're everywhere. I've written most cowboy romance and I do have to say that a cowboy main character is pretty exhirating. I mean they're masculine, hard working, rugged, everything you'd want in a hero type. Someone asked me the other day if all my romances are about cowboys and I smiled. I do have a couple that aren't cowboy related, but most of my books do have cowboys and horses. As I've always said, you have to write about what you love. It just makes it easier. If you write about something that you're not passionate about then it will show in your writing. Always go with what you're passionate about. I'm going to write what I'm passionate about. It's just how I'm made. Do you have something you're passionate about? As a writer you can really shine if you go with your passion. Since I've always loved anything about horses and cowboys, it's only natural that I'd write about them. I've actually heard from fans that I've convinced them to love cowboys too. That made me happy because that means that I did what I strived to do. So what's your passion? Is your romantic hero a cowboy, Navy Seal, doctor, business man, millionaire, musician, bad boy, body guard, vampire, werewolf, shifter, the list can go on and on? If it's romance I'll read it, but my favorite type is obvious... As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Friday, January 31, 2014

Why do you write?

That's a weird question to a writer, but to someone from the outer non writer world it seems logical. I've had this question posed to me on several occasions. So today I'll try to answer this in my own life. Why do I write? Well, it's a a passion. I guess my passion for writing started with my intense passion for reading. I've always loved to read. When I was young I'd read mysteries and old classics. Then as I became a teenager I was introduced to romance novels. Well that was it for me. I was hooked on romances. I'd go through a couple a week. It was thrilling to get carried away to another world. So, I started writing what came into my mind as a teenager. I'd fill up notebooks with stories. Mostly they were romances, but I did pen out a couple of mysteries. I'm actually thinking of working on a romance filled with mystery. We'll see how that goes. There's a feeling I get when I sit down to write. It's like no other feeling. I get immersed in the world of my characters. It's amazing how you can get so into their story that you actually get lost. Sometimes it's hard to get back into the here and now. Of course right now is the busiest time of the year for my accounting business. But I still set aside time to write and plot out stories. It's actually a stress reliever. If I'm feeling too overwhelmed I'll go into Bigstockphoto.com or one of the other picture sites and try to set up what I want for a cover. It inspires me. Or I'll work on an outline of a story I'm working on. I sprinkle my nights with reading and writing. I consider reading like research for writing. As I read other authors work it helps to keep me focused on my own writing. So, why do you write? As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Unlikely Heros during a bad situation in Georgia

I know, you're saying 'not a big deal', but Georgia doesn't see this often and especially the ice and 8 degree temps. At least we haven't lost power. I'm just glad I don't work in Atlanta. If you've seen the news, then you know what happened with the traffic. It was horrible and I heard so many horror stories of the 16 to 22 hours sitting on the interstate. I'm having a panic attack just thinking about it. Well that puts me to my topic for today. I couldn't believe it as I watched the horror unfold Tuesday night on TV. People were stuck on the interstates all around and children were stranded at school. The worst was those that did manage to get on buses and the bus getting stranded. It's amazing the hero's that show up during these situations. Our wonderful law officers always step up to the plate and those that are in the emergency management positions, but I'm talking about just everyday people. I'm going to hit on some of the ones that moved me as I watched the stories. The teachers that were stranded with the children. To me that's heroism. You may not think so, but those parents that were at home had a little bit of relief that those teachers were there. They stayed with those children and fixed meals, entertained them and were their parents for several hours. It's hard to imagine what had to be going through their minds. I can't even comprehend it. They were true heros and stepped up to the plate. Then I heard of so many going out on foot to those stranded on the interstates. They showed several passing out hot chocolate and others handing out snack bars and water. Even a couple were handing out toilet paper. Things that we take for granted, these people had none of this. I'm sure they were thankful for whatever they could get. One guy even handed out fruit snacks for the children that were stranded in the cars with their families. You know it had to be hard on all of them. A lot of the stranded drivers were truck drivers. They even stepped up letting people get in their warm cabs to get warmth. Then you have those that stepped up and risked their lives by helping people get their cars out of ditches or unstuck. Even Chipper Jones, a former Atlanta Braves player helped out. It's amazing the amount of compassion that was shown during this. Also a big shout out to the many stores that opened up their doors to those stranded motorists. People were sleeping in the aisles of grocery stores, card stores and others. It just goes to show that in a bad situation, people step up to the plate. They may not consider themselves heros, but to those that they helped they're Superman or Wonderwoman. It touched me. I counted myself lucky that my family was safely tucked in at home by the fire. We still have no school and my hubby is here on standby. As for me, I'm working at my kitchen table where it's warm. That's the nice thing about having my office beside my house. I can telecommute. So if you know of someone who has been helpful in this crazy winter, give them a shout out. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snowy night in Georgia!

Well the meterologists got it right. Here in Georgia we're getting lots of snow. It's pretty and really cold. I know those of you from the north are laughing at us southerners, but we don't get this often. We're definitely not prepared for it. Atlanta highways are almost closed down and the roads are iced over. As for me, I'm sitting in my cozy den with a roaring fire. It's a great night to write a beach scene that I've been working on. I'm thinking warm thoughts.....Yeah that helped thaw out my toes. I plan on sitting here and finishing the beach scene tonight. Then hopefully if my power doesn't go out, I'll finish the whole book tomorrow. But unfortunately I live in the country and if the ice builds on the power lines, well you know what happens, they snap. Then I'll be down for the count. But I have plenty of pens and paper :) I'll go back to the old way of writing. The snow is falling heavily now as the darkness takes over. It looks like diamonds falling from the sky. The ice crystals gleam in our outside spot lights. It's simply gorgeous. But since my driveway is uphill, we'll have to get out the 4x4 if we go anywhere out of four wheeler range. Hope everyone is staying safe in the cold weather that's descended from Canada. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Monday, January 27, 2014

2nd Cup Monday...Maybe 3rd Cup

It's Monday if you haven't figured it out. When my alarm went off at six this morning I groaned wanting it to be Saturday again. I sat up way too late reading last night and man I feel it this morning. Working toward my 3rd cup of coffee. As for this morning's post here goes. I have several manuscripts in the works as always. I put in several hours on these this past weekend. I'm so excited about the manuscript that will be entered in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. My book "A Love Never Lost" made it through to the 2nd round last year which was a huge accomplishment for this writer. I just have to finish this one up and get it entered. Have you ever edited 3/4 of the way through a manuscript. I was typing this weekend and had a AH HA moment. Suddenly it became clear which direction the last part of the book would go. Of course I know the ending, but the part a couple of chapters from the end had been bugging me. I went back and did a editing read, which helped to confirm the change that would take place. It's funny how your characters truly speak to you. This morning I'm going to give it a couple hundred words before I shower and head to my office. I've set up a work schedule that allows time to have a few minutes here and there to get in a few words. Since this is the start of my busy season I want to get as much done on my WIP as possible. Deadlines also drive this need for time slots that allow me to write. Have you scheduled your day to include some writing? This actually helps me to destress during the day with a little time away from numbers and clients. It's amazing how calming my writing can be. It's a time that I look forward to every day. So make sure that you plan a little time every day to write and get lost if only for a section of time. As always, Good Writing and May God Bless You...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cleaning Up A Mess...

Have you ever started an edit on your manuscript and wondered what happened? It's the weirdest thing when you're writing it sounds good and then you start to edit and wonder who wrote it. You know it's happened to you before. I sometimes think that maybe I write in my sleep. That's my story and I'm sticking to it... I was working on one of my WIP and got a little sidetracked, well maybe a lot sidetracked. I couldn't seem to keep the story in my head. So, I decided to do a read through. I reached a section that I know I wrote several nights ago and I was really tired that night. Well, it was going well and all of a sudden it was like, What? I laughed out loud at my own mistakes. Several words were not even recognizable and some of the sentences were just plain out horrible. They didn't make sense and a couple of times I just drifted off into lala land. Well, to say the least, I spent a lot of time rewriting and I'm glad I did. While cleaning up the mess I made I actually had a ah ha moment and changed a whole scene in the middle of the book. It flows so much better and I'm happy with it. It makes the ending seem so much clearer. Funny how our clean up edits can bring about a whole new outlook on a story. So, as I sit here writing this cold Saturday morning, I hope all of you are writing or doing something you enjoy. It's Saturday. Give yourself a break and enjoy yourself. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Friday, January 24, 2014

Burr...Let's Talk Romance...

Well it's cold here in Georgia. Actually cold doesn't even begin to describe how it feels outside. I've set up my office in my den for the day. It's just way too cold in my office, so when you get lemons you make lemonade, but here it would be a frozen lemonade. Think summer :) So, let's talk romance and try to get warm. The last couple of nights I've had my nose in my kindle reading. Some days I just want to read and not write. Of course this could be called research or practice. With sports figures they work out daily, but a writer needs to read daily. For me reading helps keep my mind working correctly. As you know I write romance, so I read a lot of romance. It's like a inspirational time for me. As I read I think, yeah, I like the way this writer does this, or I think about what I didn't like in the book and I try to avoid it in my own work. As the temps continue to be below freezing I curl up in front of the fire with a romance to keep me warm. Currently I'm reading a Vampire series and it's been pretty good so far. I love how the writer handles every situation. I've been so into the books that I don't even realize I'm chilly. But I've got to put the Kindle down and get back into my manuscripts in progress. Especially the one that's going in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. It's in the final stages and I'm really excited about it. It's a step away from my normal style writing, so I'm anxious to see how it's received. So, if you're cold, pick up a romance and let the warmth spread through you. When you read about love it just has a warming affect on you. Go ahead and try it. If you need some good choices then go over to avonromance.com. They've got a great selection of romances to warm your heart and your toes. As always, good writing and May God Bless You...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Changing Up...

Before I published my first book I did a lot of investigating. The general comment that I saw from several well known writers was to keep writing. They said that the more you write the better your craft and the better the sales. Well, I wondered how this would pan out for my future career as a writer. Now that I'm coming up on my two year publishing anniversary I can say that this is a fact. It's funny that when I read my first published book I shake my head. I'm in the process of revising a couple of my first books. I've learned so much about the process and writing in the last two years. I changed a lot of how the process goes. Also, I've slowed down a bit. Of course that could be age, but let's get past that point. I've seen a huge difference in sales. The first 6 months after publishing my first book my sales were minimal. Every month after that I've seen a upswing. I've also learned to put a decent price on my work. Even though you might sell less in numbers, the end result if a larger profit. As for my covers I've stepped up the game. Now I put more effort in making each new cover pack a punch. I want them to stand out in the enormous crowd of other newly published books. I study other covers that I see and what the current trends are. I get a lot of response on my covers which makes me smile. One thing I've learned from multiple published books, I've added more descriptions. I've added more insight into the characters and more information on the surroundings. Some of this comes from fans writing to me. They tell me that my earlier books were good, but they wanted more from the characters. I've listened to the readers and now I write further detail into every book. Patience has been a hard thing for me to have in my writing. When you can see the end and your excited, sometimes you press it too quickly and lose the middle structure. My publishing process has become very detailed. I've slowed that process too. Now I do a little more marketing than before. As you've noticed in my blogs I'm working on several manuscripts that have been in the works for a while. I also have a couple of surprises coming up, but that's for another blog down the road. As always, good writing, and May God Bless You...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

When Writing A Death Scene...

I've been working on a piece that includes death scene. I'm not talking about a shooting or stabbing death, but a death caused by cancer. Death scenes can be tricky, especially in these circumstances. If you're having a character killed off you just have them shot or stabbed and there's a moment of dying then that's it. But in this instance the character is in a hospital spending her last moments with her loving husband. Yeah, I cried all the way through writing the scene which took several days. It was mentally and physically draining. The scene spanned a chapter or two as this was a pivotal point of the story line. It sets the scenarios for the rest of the book. And no it's not a tear jerker all the way through. It's a really sweet romance from start to finish. The main character is just such an amazing man. He's so full of Faith, family and love that you can't help but fall in love with him. I've cried with him, laughed with him and now it's at another pivotal life changing event and I've just sat and sighed with him. Let's just say it's going to pull you up in your seat. In a death scene such as this, you have to be careful. I wanted the death scene to flow easily but not too quickly. The emotions and the last words are pivotal in the mechanics of the main characters decisions later on. Yes, I even put some romance in the death scene which is hard to do, but with these two it's easy. Their love was immense and totally empowering. It's also a little eye opening for my own life. I've lost so many family and friends to cancer so it was a little sad. It also made me think of my own immortality. How would I handle my last minutes on earth? Could I be as brave as Rachel? Would I be a complete mess? How would I handle my last moments with my child and my husband? It's something to think about. I spent a little time digging into my own heart. It was a reality check for sure. As always, good writing and May God Bless you...