As an example, I have a book chapter that goes as follows:
First Paragraph>Drop Cap+Bold Lead-in for 3 words
Next paragraphs>basic body copy
Blank Line>Blank Line
Last thing> Aan author's name.
Is there a way to have these styles starting with the second paragraph repeat up to the blank line then kick in the the next style? Basically to program it with: The first paragraph is this way, for all paragraphs up to the blank line do it this way, then apply this to the author's name?
The multiple paragraphs of varying number are what is holding me up.
Not as you type (which is the only way next paragraph styles are applied automatically) if there is no pattern. It ought to be possible, given your habit of inserting two blank lines, to use Find/Change when finished or to script it.
Have you considered adding keyboard shortcuts for the styles? And back to your habit of adding blank lines -- that's generally frowned on in professional typography. We use Space Before or Space After a paragraph to add additonal blank space.