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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Come On, Admit it…It’s Happened to You~

You’re sitting in a dark movie theater, and suddenly there’s a face on the screen that takes your breath away!  The sheer beauty of it makes you ache as your mind wonders, “Who is this guy?”

Come on, admit it. It’s happened to you.

You rush home and search his name on IMDB and Google, and are thrilled to find a long list of movies, TV shows, interviews, and appearances on talk shows. You devour them all as you fall in “love” with the face on the movie screen. You feel a bit silly over this obsession, but it’s something you can’t control. The more you find out about him, the more obsessed you become.

And then, one magical night, you actually meet him! Live, and in-person! That beautiful face is even more spectacular, up-close, without make-up, without a filter of any kind. He opens his mouth and speaks, and the sound of his voice, talking to YOU, turns your insides to jelly.

Let’s take it one step further. The moment you meet your movie-star crush, there is a mutual and instant connection between you, a coup de foudre…the thunderbolt. It’s real, and impossible to ignore.  You have a conversation, share a dance, and then the evening is over. It’s a moment you’ll tuck away in your heart to remember and cherish the rest of your life.

And then he calls you.

You’re torn between your desire to give in to his potent and seductive charm as he woos you, and the warning in your head that this isn’t real. Every fiber of your being tells you not to trust it. After all, in your “research” you’ve discovered that he has a long history of short but intense relationships with actresses and supermodels…an endless stream of women in and out of his bed.

What happens now?

This is the story of Cara Mears in At That Moment, a contemporary romance, Volume #1 of The Eyes of March series. Book #2 of the series, as yet unnamed, will be published in the late fall.

Amazon Review:  http://amzn.to/2aZj8rt

We’ve all been there. In the dark. The music comes up, the lights go down, and there is that face: those expressive eyes, that gorgeous hair, that wicked mouth. The face of an actor, perhaps, or sometimes just a movie star. It does not matter. It is a face that we can’t get out of our heads. It’s burned on our retinas. We are gaga for that face–and probably the rest of the poor guy, too. We hide our gaga feelings from our friends or sometimes we share. Mostly we just wait impatiently for the next film, the next time “that face” is in the dark. With us. DVDs help, but there is nothing like “that face” on a big screen. It’s a good thing we are already sitting down because “that face” always leaves us weak in the knees.

What makes Scarlett Hartgrove’s book so much darned fun is that she takes this situation and “that face” and makes them both real. What would you do if you turned around one evening and there he was, walking towards you with a lop-sided smile, extending a hand to introduce himself? Out of the blue, there are those blue eyes looking back at you, but not on the big screen this time. In life. Real life. Faint? Maybe. But Cara Mears is built of stronger stuff. Mostly.

This story is well-written and packed with loving details. The plot does not give you a moment to breathe. The characters are as real as the big screen is not. Cara is a strong woman, with a career she adores and sturdy friends who support and love her. Dylan (“that face”) is an actor committed to his craft. But he is looking for more in life. And he finds it. Then the fireworks begin! The dialogue between these two is rich and dramatic and often very funny; I did not find a false note anywhere. By the end of this first novel in the series, we are left with a cliff-hanger of the most gaga-inducing proportions, but it would not matter much if we did not care about what was going to happen next to these two!

Keep writing, Ms. Hartgrove. Keep writing!

At That Moment is available on Amazon, iTunes, and Smashwords.

Check it out!

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So, Now What? #WriterWednesday #indieauthor #writersproblems #amwriting

 

Two months ago, I published my first novel…a really great story (in my humble opinion) that took years to come together.  So, now what?

I wrote, worked with beta readers, cut, added, rewrote, edited, edited and edited. I engaged a cover designer, an editor, a proofreader. I had a launch. I’ve tweeted, set up a Facebook page and a blog. All my writer friends agree, if you haven’t done this yourself, you cannot possibly understand the incredible amount of work, stress, and angst that goes into actually seeing the finished product listing on Amazon, or wherever you choose to sell your book.

At That Moment is the first book in a series, a story that includes a bit of fantasy, a great deal of reality, and many questions that women in their thirties (and all ages, honestly) face from time to time. I know it’s a great story…I’m just wondering how to spread the word now. I’m anxious to get the second book out, mainly because I’m also a reader, and personally hate to wait…and wait…and wait…for the next volume of a series I’m reading and enjoying.

This is the conundrum. Do I write? Or do I push back my plans to get the next book out as soon as possible, and spend my time working on promotion and marketing of the first book?

Like many self-published indie authors I’m privileged to know, I’m not rich. I can’t hire a PR firm to promote my book, nor do I have unlimited funds to spend on book promotion. I don’t have a Personal Assistant I can assign these tasks to while I write. And also, like many indie authors I know, self-published or not, I don’t have unlimited time to devote to either writing or promotion. I have a busy life with responsibilities and people who depend on me. So, I’ve been searching for help.

There is no lack of promotional “help” out there… “We’ll tweet about your book for 3 days for $14!” “List your book with us! We’ll tweet about it for 7 days for $50!”  and on and on.  What is an author to do?  Who sees the tweets?  Do they reach readers who enjoy my genre? Will they be worth my hard-earned money? Just researching all of these sites is extremely time-consuming and exhausting.

There are hundreds (maybe even thousands) of blogs out there giving writers advice, outlining what they should do to get their books noticed and jumpstart their sales. “Long before you even publish, build a platform.” ie: Set up social media sites, collect a huge following, develop a mailing list, create a newsletter with interesting content. Well, no, I didn’t do that. Shame on me.

The simple fact is, word of mouth sells books. Most people don’t have a clue how much a review posted on Amazon helps an indie author. There are some inexpensive (and sometimes even free) promotional opportunities available, if you search hard enough. But quite a few of them require a minimum number of good reviews posted on Amazon to qualify for their services.

If you have enjoyed a book, please take a few minutes of your time to go on the book’s Amazon listing and rate it. You don’t even have to have purchased the book from Amazon (Thank you, Amazon!) to leave a rating and review on the page. And a “review” doesn’t have to be a 3-page analysis of every aspect of the book. It can simply say, “I liked this book and recommend it to others who enjoy this genre.” A short and sweet review of that fashion may not seem like much to you, but it counts as a “review” and can mean the world to an indie author…the best “thank you” for the incredible amount of work that goes in to writing and publishing a book. And it can simply make an author’s day, providing a sometimes much-needed shot of confidence.

I am extremely grateful to those who have posted such awesome reviews of At That Moment. Each one builds my confidence, and makes me so happy that others are understanding what I have written, relating to my characters, and are enjoying the read. Thank you, truly, from the bottom of my heart.

I’ve written a story that I truly love…a contemporary novel about a woman who experiences an incredible life-changing moment, and it explores the age-old question, “Does she have the courage to take a leap of faith?”  Or does she cling to her comfortable, predictable life where she’s in control of the outcome? (Yes, I know that’s a myth, but isn’t it one we all believe?)

A few years ago, I shared the first draft with a few close friends who badgered me almost daily, “You HAVE to publish this!  This is a great book! People will LOVE it!” I swallowed my fear and doubts, and published it.

So, now what?

Do I push on with the next chapter of the story, and just let my book languish on Amazon, hoping that someone will notice it? Or do I let the next chapter sit in my computer while I spend my available time marketing and promo-ing my book? Unfortunately, sometimes it comes down to one or the other.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not spending my time this morning writing this to elicit pity or just to take up time that I could otherwise be using to write my second book, or promote my first. I’m truly interested in hearing what others have done to meet this challenge, because, the truth is, this issue has almost paralyzed me to the point that I can’t seem to do either.

Thank you for taking YOUR valuable time to read this post, and to respond, if you have any words of wisdom to share.

Are you an indie author? Have you faced this same conundrum? What did YOU do?

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At That Moment by Scarlett Hartgrove

It’s my Cover Reveal day!
 Title: At That Moment
Series: The Eyes of March #1
Author: Scarlett Hartgrove
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 2016

 

Cara Mears has a good life…simple, satisfying, and safe. 

She owns a successful company, has loyal friends and a decent relationship, and has convinced herself that this is enough.

This is a life she knows how to navigate.
Enter Dylan Madigan, her long-time movie-star crush, devastatingly handsome, arrogant, and famous.
At that moment, everything changes.
Their seductive and romantic journey begins, exposing their vulnerabilities, testing their resolve, and leaving them emotionally naked.
The bigger-than-life movie star turns Cara’s life inside out and upside down, but is it for the better?
What happens when dreams actually become reality?
Dylan was waiting for the perfect song with just the right tempo so he wouldn’t embarrass himself in front of this stunning woman he wanted to hold in his arms. He recognized it right away when the first few notes of “A Song For You” began to play.

He held up his hand with an apologetic look at Peter, took a sip from his water goblet, then sat it down on a nearby table. He stepped toward Cara, extending his right hand, and asked “Cara, will you dance with me?”

Cara’s heart exploded in her chest as she managed to nod in response. She met his eyes with a smile as she laid her hand in his and followed him to the dance floor, her knees trembling, her heart pounding.

When they reached the dance floor, Dylan turned to face her. As she stepped toward him, he slipped his right arm around her and took her hand in his. He navigated the crowded floor until he found a spot for them and met her eyes, flashing his deadly smile. He began to move in time with the music, leading her firmly with his hand on the small of her back, leaving a respectable distance between them.

Cara’s eyes were locked on his beautiful face as he looked down at her. She was surprised to find that he was, in fact, a good dancer, very much in control, leading strongly. She let herself move with him, the nervousness inside her calming a bit as she concentrated on their movements. She felt like Cinderella dancing with her prince!

She was aware that Dylan was making an effort to maintain the space between them. “Screw the respectable distance,” she thought. She wanted him to hold her close…so close she could feel his heart beat. She heard Melanie’s and Suzanne’s voices in her head saying, “Just do it! Make your move!”

Dizzying thoughts swirled through her brain as she dared herself to make the move. When the soulful, sensual saxophone solo began, Cara drew in a breath, squeezed Dylan’s hand slightly, and stepped forward, closing the distance between them. She held her breath for a second, waiting for his reaction, then let it out slowly when he took her right hand and laid it on his chest, covering it with his. At the same time, he tightened his arm around her back, pulling her closer to him. Her left hand made its way from his shoulder to the back of his neck, and she threw caution to the wind, settling her face into the crook of his neck and inhaling his delicious scent, making a conscious effort to commit this moment…this exact moment…to her memory forever.

Dylan had wanted to dance with her so they could have a few minutes to talk. But when she’d stepped forward, closing the distance between them, he found himself unable to speak. She felt so good in his arms. The light, exotic scent of her perfume, the warmth of her body against his, and the softness of her skin rendered him speechless. He pulled her closer, losing himself in the pleasure of the moment.

Cara closed her eyes, feeling absolutely drunk with the moment. She was being held tightly in his arms, moving slowly to the music, cheek to cheek. She felt the slight stubble of his beard, and had to will herself to breathe. Was this heaven? It had to be! She could hear the music, but once again, she and Dylan were the only two people in the room. Then before she knew it, the song was over.

She wanted to cry!

Reluctantly stepping back from him, Cara had a difficult time focusing her eyes when she looked up at his handsome face. The orchestra rolled into the next song, “It Had to Be You.” Dylan raised an eyebrow at her with the unspoken question, and she stepped back into his arms. His arms embraced her, and she settled into the spot where she now wanted to spend the rest of her life.

She leaned back slightly to look at him, face to face. She wanted to touch his beautiful face, wrap her arms around his neck…but instead, as he pulled her close, she let her cheek once again rest against his. As he leaned into her, Cara let out an involuntary sigh. Suddenly, she felt his warm lips touch her bare shoulder at the base of neck with a soft kiss, sending a lightning bolt all the way down her body to the floor. He moved his face close to hers, and she could feel his soft breath on her ear as they slowly moved to the music, bodies touching. She closed her eyes and lost herself in her fantasy coming true. She was dancing with the mad handsome Dylan Madigan! 

And then it was over.

As the orchestra began the next song, Dylan led Cara from the dance floor with a firm, warm grip on her hand. It took all of her concentration not to stumble into his back as they walked around the tables and finally reached their group at the back of the room.

I am a southern woman, born and bred.
I love the beach, cooking, gardening, sweet tea, cats, good books, music, and warm, sunny weather.
Growing up as a child of blind parents gave me a unique perspective of life. Watching my parents struggle to overcome adversity in order to provide a normal life for me and my brother, I learned the meaning of tenacity, self-reliance, independence, grace, and the true importance of family. 
I am a glass-half-full-girl to my very core.
As a young girl, I kept a diary, which led to the habit of keeping a journal and writing short stories. I have spent my life writing in my head.
I’ve always had an open book nearby, soaking up the adventures that transport me from my daily life to exotic, exciting locations around the world.
Someday, if someone remembers me as a kind, compassionate, and strong person, I will have lived the life I always wanted.
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