A Reason to Celebrate #WriterWednesday

Every so often, something special happens in my life to make me stop and reflect. I received this a few days ago, and it was one of those very special moments. Please allow me to share…

 

Dear Ms. Hartgrove,

I recently read your novel At That Moment. As I began to write my review, I found myself wanting so much to tell you directly, how much I love the story you have so eloquently written.

No story has ever captured me as much as At That Moment has. I’m held captive by each beautifully descriptive word and I never want to be released from this splendid romance.

This breathtaking romance comes to life and details every magical, heart stopping moment in full vivid display. Cara Mears has lived with the fantasy of meeting sexy heartthrob, Irish actor Dylan Madigan for over a decade. Then, like lightning in the dark, in one brilliant moment, Cara’s eyes, her hand, and her heart are held by Dylan Madigan himself. Dylan crashes from Cara’s fantasies right into her real life. You craft a truly enchanting meeting between the characters and the fairytale only continues from there. At that moment, Cara’s reality becomes more intense than her fantasies ever were… and At That Moment pulls me right along for the ride. AT THAT MOMENT IS PERFECT ROMANCE!

The ending left me right on the brink, it’s not a gut-wrenching cliff hanger, all the factual details are known but it’s clear that it isn’t the end—there’s much more to this story… and I will be waiting with bated breath for the continuing story to be revealed. There’s a new super couple who have claimed my heart. DYLAN AND CARA ARE SIMPLY AMAZING!

I’m not sure this short note really communicates how much I adore the story you’ve written. But, I do, so much. Dylan Madigan can crash into my reality—ANYTIME! And I assure you, he will. I know that I’ll be slipping back into Cara and Dylan’s world again and again.

Thank you for your perfect knack for storytelling and creating a vibrant world for readers to disappear into with your well-developed characters.

Warm regards from a very satisfied reader.
~DC

P.S. He’s mymadhandsome! 😉

 

Dear DC,

You have no idea what this means to me. I published AT THAT MOMENT almost a year ago (March 17, 2016). Since that time, I have finished writing Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 of the series, The Eyes of March. I had a stroke in October, which could have taken my life. Luckily, it didn’t, but it affected the “language” part of my brain. I thought my days of writing were over.

This encourages me, more than you could ever know, to finish the series. I hope to have the second book out soon.

Your words mean the world to me. Thank you so much.

Scarlett

AT THAT MOMENT is participating in Smashwords’ Read An Ebook Week now, through March 11. If you would like to check out Cara and Dylan’s story, you can download it for FREE during this promotion.

Find it here:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/624867

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Are You Ready? #bookboost #tw4rw #romance #contemporaryromance

It’s time to relax a bit and find a good book series to enjoy through the spring and summer.

AT THAT MOMENT, Book 1 of The Eyes of March series, is a spellbinding contemporary romance tale of a everyday businesswoman who unexpectedly meets her movie-star crush.

This is your chance to grab it FREE during #Smashwords  #ReadAEbookWeek March 5 through March 11.  Find it here … https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/624867

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What color is “teal”? and what does it have to do with my writing? #WriterWednesday #amwriting #author #writer #writersproblems #blindness #NFB

What color is “teal”?  Imagine, for a just a moment, trying to describe that color, or any color, for that matter, to a blind person.

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I grew up with blind parents. This had its disadvantages, of course, but the older I get, I realize that there were important advantages, too.  More on that later…

A few years ago, “teal” became very popular in fashion, design, and decorating. I took my mom shopping for a new outfit one day, and was describing an attractive suit to her as she gingerly touched the dress, feeling the collar, the sleeves, and the way the dress was made.

“What color is it?” she asked.

“Teal,” I responded.

“What color is teal?”

Hmm.

Have you ever tried to describe a sunset to someone who has never seen a sunset? Have you ever tried to describe a color to someone who is blind?

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And what does that have to do with my writing? 

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As a reader, sometimes I find myself getting annoyed with long, detailed “description,” and begin to skim the page.

As a writer, I admit, I am guilty of superfluous description, and spend a great deal of time editing my manuscripts to correct that issue. It is a natural tendency I possess, and more often than not, I’m unaware that I’m doing it. I suppose that is the result of having spent my life describing the world that I see to my parents.

My mom was born with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative disease of the retina. As a young girl and through her teenage years, she could see well enough to see colors (she has a vivid memory of the primary colors) but she quickly lost her remaining sight as she became a young woman. For a while, she still had “light perception”… best described as walking into a dark room where there is a light on and being able to see the contrast between dark and light…but lost even that bit of her remaining vision when I was a young child.

My dad lost half of his sight as a child due to deep cataracts on his eye. At that time, they didn’t remove the cataract, they removed the eye. He had a prosthetic eye, and developed another very large cataract on his other eye, which progressively diminished his remaining vision.By the time the laser surgery for cataracts was perfected, the cataract was so large and so deep, the doctors were afraid to remove it, fearful that he would lose what little vision he had left. Dad had what we call “travel vision”… he could see just enough, in most cases, to get around by himself without a guide dog or a white cane.

My brother and I have had a wonderful life, despite our parents’ handicaps. My mom has always said, “My biggest problem with being blind is a sighted person’s misconception about blindness.”  I have tons of stories to illustrate that point. Perhaps some day I’ll write a book about it.

But back to the subject at hand…

I have had writer friends ask me to read their WIP, asking if they have enough “description” in a particular passage. This always makes me laugh, thinking “You certainly asked the right person about that!”

Hopefully, in my own writing, I have avoided droning on and on in my description of a scene. Maybe I’ve reached the right balance, since many who have read my book have made comments like “I felt like I was in the room!” or “I could literally see your book unfolding like a movie before my eyes as I read it.”  These comments, while completely unsolicited, make me smile, and make me feel as if  I’m successfully avoiding “description overload” with my writing.  It truly is like fighting something that is part of my nature…something unconsciously ingrained in the way I write and the way I talk.

So, what color is teal?  What color is fuchia? Burgundy? Silver? Turquoise? Azure?

How would you describe a sunset, or the ocean, or a shuttle launch, or a tabby kitten’s fur to someone who is blind?

Just think about it…

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Birthday Resolutions – “*the eighth in June*” #birthdays #gratitude #celebrate

Today is my birthday. Big woop, right? Yeah, that made me laugh, too.

Birthdays have never really been a big deal for me. I don’t say that to elicit sympathy, because being a “big deal” and being “special” are two completely different things.
All my birthdays have been “special,” because those who love me have made them so.

As a young child, when I learned that June 8th was my birthday, I would announce to my parents that “The eighth in June” was my birthday. *smiles at the memory* (Yes, Daddy, I miss you so much today, the eighth in June.)

I didn’t grow up with a huge birthday party every year. There were a few, yes, and they were awesome. But as an adult, usually I’ve been working on my birthday, and except for the cards, phone calls, lunches, drinks, or dinner out, the day has been the same as any other day.

But a few years ago, I decided to approach my birthday differently.

I decided to make it a “me” day, to celebrate myself by spending the entire day doing only what I wanted to do, for me, myself, and I.
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Yes, often that is a considerable challenge, but during the week before, I really work for it. I fulfill my responsibilities, take care of my business, and work “ahead,” so I can truly have a day off, just for me.

I’m constantly reminding friends to celebrate themselves every now and then, because I celebrate them all the time!

For those who allow their birthday to slip by without any kind of acknowledgement or celebration (and you know who you are…), I say “STOP THAT!” Everyone has their own special gifts, and we all deserve to take just one day each year to celebrate ourselves!
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Even if it’s only celebrating the fact that we’ve made it through another year. Ha-ha.

So today, I’m celebrating ME! The celebration may involve a trip to the spa, lunch with friends, a delicious afternoon nap, relaxing on my deck while soaking up some sunshine, catching up with friends and loved ones who call with their good wishes, enjoying a favorite bottle of wine, catching up on some reading, something “forbidden” for dinner… without guilt, without feeling selfish.

Just one day each year… all mine!

Tomorrow, I am back at work, in my regular routine, business as usual.

But today, I will celebrate my *sparkle* and thank God and my family and my friends for my life.

I am filled with gratitude.
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Lessons Learned.

It’s been two months since my last post, and I have decided, if I’m going to maintain this blog/site, I have to do much better.

My last post, “An Unplanned Post…” was the result of possible good news about a dear friend who was very ill. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way…she passed away the following week, and I went into deep mourning. Never again will I find her sometimes funny and always thoughtful emails in my inbox. Never again will we enjoy laughter and conversation on the phone. She’s gone. Period. I know others have felt her loss, but that doesn’t, in any way, diminish my loss.  My parents always taught me to live my life with gratitude, but it was difficult to be “thankful” when mourning the loss of someone I loved.

I have learned many lessons this year, especially as I look back on the adventure of publishing my first book. They ranged from “Oh yeah!  So that’s how you do it!” to “I truly cannot believe this…” As far as publishing the book is concerned, I know the second volume of the series will be easier because of what I’ve learned.  If I don’t use those lessons to do better in the future, then shame on me.

I imagined taking a well-deserved and much-needed break at the end of March. That never happened. You know, the old “Best laid plans….” thing.

During February and early March, I knew I was experiencing some health issues, but I was so focused on the release of my book, I ignored them. Shame on me. Shortly after publication, I went to my doctor for a physical, and everything was diagnosed. Thankfully, (there’s that “gratitude” thing…) some turned out not to be as serious as I imagined, and the issues that were indeed, serious, are being successfully treated.

During that time, as I spent every week at a different doctor’s office having tests, or at imaging centers for scans and xrays, there was also an extremely serious issue going on with my mother’s health. Between my own health issues, taking care of my family, work, and as always, trying to “be there” for friends who were experiencing their own difficult times,  I was unconsciously depleting my energy, both physical and mental.

And then one day, the Wicked Dark Depression came knocking at my door.

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However, I am thankful (there’s that “gratitude” thing…again) that I had responsibilities, both personal and professional, that made me keep going, when all I really wanted to do each and every morning was crawl back into bed, pull the covers over my head, and shut out the world. Instead, I defiantly held my head up, taunting that dark shadow. “You won’t get me this time!” Many things gave me the strength I didn’t realize I possessed, including a small group of friends whose supportive, cheerful words made me smile at least once a day.

Even with my own health issues, I’m thankful they’re treatable. Unfortunately my friend was not so lucky. I am very aware, that no matter how bad my “problems” seem to be, I never have to look too far to see someone whose issues are much more serious than my own.

I am also aware that my success as a writer, AND as a person, depends on ME. One of the more painful lessons I’ve learned is that I can’t always depend on others to do as they say they will.  Conversely, one of the most wonderful lessons I’ve learned is that help and support sometimes comes from the most unexpected sources. And sometimes, there will be that one person who appears at that precise moment I need help and encouragement the most.

We live, we learn.

I am grateful to have my life, to have friends and family who care about me, and to have the ability to realize that sometimes, I really don’t “know it all.”

I’ll take those lessons and use them all to be a better version of ME.

Thank you for reading, for sharing, and most of all, for your support and encouragement.

And now, I shall return to what I love the most… writing.

Stay tuned…

Scarlett

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An Unplanned Post on #ThankfulThursday…

Today is #ThankfulThursday. I usually try to post a few #ThankfulThursday tweets on Twitter, but this morning, my heart is full…and Twitter is only 140 characters.

I am thankful for so much in my life, and try to live each and every day with gratitude in my heart. I can always think of “more” that I want, but never let what I “want” overshadow all the things I “have.”

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This morning, I am #Thankful for friends who always respond when I need help in the middle of the night.

This morning, I am #Thankful to learn that a dear friend who is very ill is still with us, and hopefully, doing better.

This morning, I am #Thankful for the #unconditionallove given to me by my family.

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We have so many blessings in our lives, some so small we may not even think of them as blessings.

I can flip a switch on my wall, and suddenly my house is warm on cold nights.

I can go to my pantry for a snack, and always find something to eat.

I can turn a lever and have fresh water.

I can pick up the device of my choice and be in touch with anyone, anytime, anywhere.

I can learn something new every single day, broadening my world and expanding my horizons.

I can write and publish a book.

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There is always something to be #thankful for.

Yes, I want a new computer, and yes, I’d love a new car. But my computer is working, and my car is comfortable and dependable. I’m #thankful that I have a computer, and a car.

Mostly, I’m #thankful for my #family and my #friends. And #thankful that my Dad, even though he’s been gone five years now, still touches my life every now and then.

Life gets busy and chaotic. Most of the time, actually. But I know I’m a better person when I live my life with #gratitude in my #attitude, and take the time to “smell the roses.”

Try it.

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