Heart-Shaped Hack Cover Reveal

Good morning!

I’m so excited to show you the cover of my forthcoming adult contemporary romance novel. I think this one might be my all-time favorite. It’s so pretty!

Here’s the blurb:

When Kate Watts abandoned her law career to open a food pantry in Northeast Minneapolis, she never dreamed it would be this difficult. Facing the heartbreaking prospect of turning hungry people away, she is grateful for the anonymous donations that begin appearing at the end of each month. Determined to identify and thank her secret benefactor, she launches a plan and catches Ian—a charismatic hacker with a Robin Hood complex—in the act.

Ian intrigues Kate in a way no man ever has. But after learning he’s snooped around on her personal computer, she demands retribution. Impressed with her tolerance and captivated by her spirit, he complies and begins to slowly charm his way past her defenses. Time spent with Ian is never boring, and Kate soon finds herself falling for the mysterious hacker.

But Ian has enemies, and they’re growing restless. In the hacking world, exploiting a target’s weakness is paramount, and no price is too high to stop an attack. And when Kate learns exactly how much Ian has paid, she’ll discover just how strong her love is for the man who has hacked his way into her heart.

And here’s the cover:

 

HSH resized

Publication date and pre-order links will be up soon. To add Heart-Shaped Hack to your Goodreads shelves, click here.

Please swing by my Facebook author page to enter the giveaway for a digital ARC!

Happy Friday, everybody!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dream A Little Dream

Hello, everyone!

Today I’d like to talk about the inspiration for my latest novel. I’d mentioned on my Facebook author page late last fall that my next project was going to be a second-chance romance called The Girl He Used to Know, loosely inspired by the song “Same Auld Lang Syne” by Dan Fogelberg (the one about running into your old lover at the grocery store on Christmas Eve).

I’d already done quite a bit of research for this book. I’d written the synopsis, and I had a word document full of notes.

I was very excited about writing this book.

I’m still very excited about writing this book.

But that’s not the book I ended up writing.

Sometime during the early morning hours of October 2nd a book idea came to me in a dream. I woke before my alarm and I remember lying there just thinking about it. The dream itself was weird and didn’t make sense, and I couldn’t really remember the specifics. But the idea part was very vivid.

And I was all, “Whaaaaat is going on here???”

But I went downstairs, poured myself a cup of coffee, and opened a new word document. I typed in one sentence that summed up the book idea, saved it, and went about my day, preparing to really get down to business on drafting The Girl He Used to Know. 

But later that afternoon I started making notes for the dream book. And once I started I didn’t stop until I had about 5,000 words. I had a loose outline, scraps of dialogue, and whole scenes. I’d named the main characters. Everything was kind of a blur and I almost couldn’t type fast enough to keep up with the ideas that were pouring from my brain.

I told my husband I felt very conflicted. I always know what I’m going to write next, and it felt wrong to change my mind.

I’m a planner. I don’t wing anything.

But I decided there was no harm in spending a few weeks with this idea to see what would happen, and that’s what I did.

I ended up falling for the characters. I liked each of them separately and I loved their lively banter. They made me laugh. I felt like I had a front-row seat in their world and they were showing me their story. I sent the first sixty pages to a few trusted friends and their excited feedback and enthusiasm inspired me to keep going. It’s an adult contemporary romance, and I always felt really happy when I was working on this book. It’s lighter than Every Time I Think of You, and I really needed that. For the most part, the two main characters are together on every page. I haven’t done that since On the Island.

Tomorrow I’ll be revealing the cover and blurb so I hope you’ll stop by and take a look. I’ll be using the rafflecopter flash giveaway app to select one winner who will receive a digital ARC (as soon as they’re ready).

Have a great day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing Process Update – Revision Stage!

Here’s another update for those of you who enjoy hearing about my writing process.

I’ve completed the first draft of my new book. I actually typed THE END almost two weeks ago, but then proceeded directly to the second draft, also known as the beginning of my revision stage.

Which I love.

The first draft is where you meet your characters and learn about their world.

Revision is where you find your story.

I feel – very strongly – that this stage is the most important part of the entire writing process (and for me it’s obviously the most enjoyable). You find out a lot about your characters in the first draft, but in order to develop them fully – to give them dimension, to make them leap off the page, to ensure their actions make sense – you need to be able to look at the story –and the active role your characters play in it – as a whole. And I really can’t do that until I’ve written the first draft.

The first thing I do when I start the second draft is send the first draft to my Kindle. Then, as I read the entire manuscript straight through, I highlight sections and take notes, adding them to the items I’ve already listed in my revision checklist. For example, there is an element of the hero’s backstory in the first draft that is totally cliché, and I’m sort of embarrassed that I couldn’t see it. But that’s one example of why revision is so important. Often the first idea that pops into your mind is the one everyone would probably think of, so it needs to be replaced by something not quite as obvious. A character’s backstory is part of the reason they act the way they do, and – bonus! – the element I came up with in the second draft actually makes more sense for the hero. Double bonus – it added some more dimension to a secondary character as well. This is the power of revision. 

I mentioned in my earlier updates that I’d written a synopsis of this book for my agent, and that it had really helped give me a road map to follow as I wrote the first draft. But with the good comes the bad, and there was one particular plot point in the synopsis that really didn’t work the way I needed it to once I’d written it. And that drove me NUTS because it was a pivotal plot point and I thought it would be so awesome when I finally got to write it.

But it wasn’t awesome.

At all.

Because by the time I wrote it, I knew a lot more about my characters and their motivations. And the reactions of both characters in this particular chapter didn’t really ring true for the stage they were at in their relationship. This realization was incredibly frustrating and at first I tried to force a solution, which only made it worse.

Last week I was on vacation with my family for spring break. I had lots of time to let my mind wander and when the answer finally came to me, I realized where I’d gone wrong and what I needed to do to fix it. But I was only able to do this by looking at the story as a whole (and allowing myself the necessary time to figure it out). Interestingly, I had originally planned for this chapter to occur earlier in the book but then moved it a few chapters later. This no longer works, so I’m re-writing the whole chapter and moving it to where I’d originally planned for it to go. Sometimes this is the only course of action and I’m just thankful it was one chapter and not half a book. However, any time you pull a plot thread you run the risk of loosening something in another location, which means I now have a few other things that also have to be changed and moved.

That’s okay. That’s revision.

One of the other things I’m able to do once I have a completed first draft is look at my story arc. I like using a three act structure (you may need to click on the picture to see it better).

3-act-structure

This doesn’t mean it has to be followed 100%. But it’s a great way to see if I’ve got rising action (including enough smaller conflicts), a big enough main conflict, and a nice wrap up.

I hope to be done with my revisions by early May. Then I’ll send the manuscript off for beta feedback. After that, I’ll write the third draft, do a hard line edit for grammar and rhythm, and give it a final polish. This is why I’ll probably always be a 1 book a year (or maybe 1 book plus a novella) author. I’ve learned (the hard way) that I really do need this much time in order to be satisfied with a book.

I would love to give you more details about this book (including why I decided to write it) and hope to do so in the next couple of months. I can tell you that it’s not The Girl He Used to Know, which is what I had planned to write next. I’ll still be writing that one, but not until I’ve completed my current project. This new book is straight-up adult contemporary romance, which is something I haven’t done since On the Island (at least in a full-length novel). After the heavier subject matter of Every Time I Think of You, I really needed to write something a little lighter (and I think my readers are ready for that, too).

In one word, this book is fun. The hero and heroine have lots of dialogue (and banter!). There is an external conflict in addition to the romantic conflict, which is my favorite kind of contemporary romance. Many of you have asked for a bit more steam, and I tried my best to kick it up a bit. However, you still won’t see certain words because I don’t think they’re necessary, nor do I personally find them romantic. The heat level of this book is similar to Jill Shalvis (who’s an author I love).    

So there you have it! I’m very excited about sharing more on this project in the coming months.

Tracey

 

 

Cherish Is Available Now!

Hello, everyone!

Today I’m celebrating the release of Cherish, the novella-length sequel to Covet. I want to thank everyone who reached out to me over the past year, asking if I might consider writing a sequel to the story. It’s because of you that I finally decided to continue the story from Daniel’s, and his ex-wife Jessie’s, point of view.

Here are the places you can find Cherish:

Amazon US (e-book and paperback)

Amazon UK 

Amazon Canada 

Amazon Australia 

Apple

Barnes & Noble 

Kobo

(Major Covet spoilers from this point forward).

For the longest time, I had no plans to write a sequel. But something happened during the revision of Covet which left the door wide open for me to explore a particular storyline. I didn’t know at the time how grateful I would be for that.

The ending in the published version of Covet is different than in the earlier drafts because in those drafts, Daniel did not survive being shot in the line of duty. I wrote funeral and cemetery scenes and was pretty much a bawling mess during the whole time I was writing them.

I’m not exactly George R. R. Martin, but characters can and do die in my books (7 so far, if anyone’s counting. Is that a lot? I sort of feel like it is). Anyway, I point this out only to highlight that it’s not out of the realm of possibility for me to kill off someone. But sometime during the writing of Covet, Daniel’s death started to feel a bit gratuitous to me. Was I killing him in the name of emotional manipulation instead of what was best for the story? Also, I’m a big fan of characters having to answer for their actions, and if Daniel wasn’t in the picture there would really be no reason for Claire to ever tell Chris about her and Daniel’s relationship. Before I sent the manuscript to my beta readers and editor, I told them I had an alternate ending I wanted to discuss but that they should read the original first. If memory serves, it was pretty unanimous that killing off Daniel worked fine, but that not killing him worked better. One of my betas said, “You know what I kept thinking? That I wished there was someone for Daniel so that he could have his own happily-ever-after. Like maybe with Jessie.” We brainstormed a little and I mentioned the idea about Jessie still being listed as Daniel’s emergency contact. It all fell into place fairly quickly after that, and I re-wrote the ending. And in the back of my mind I knew the story wouldn’t be complete until I explored how this new ending would ultimate affect Daniel and Jessie.

I guess you’re all about to find out.

Please head over to my author page on Facebook for the opportunity to win signed copies of On the Island, Covet, Every Time I Think of You, and Cherish.

xoxo,

Tracey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Time I Think of You Is Available Now!

Hello, everyone!

ETITOY AmazonGRSWToday I’m celebrating the release of my third full-length novel, Every Time I Think of You, and I’d love for you to celebrate with me. I’ve been waiting rather excitedly for the release of this book, and I can’t wait to share it with you. Don’t forget to scroll down to the bottom of this post so you can enter the giveaway. There are lots of fabulous prizes up for grabs, including signed books, gift cards, an ARC of my next book, and the opportunity to name one of the characters!

One of the questions I’m often asked is, “How did you come up with the idea for this book?” My books are fairly plot-driven, and Every Time I Think of You was no different. I could see the opening scene in my head like a movie so I knew what the inciting incident – in other words, the event that would send the main characters’ lives in another direction – would be. But in this case, my opening scene was the result of not only plot, but also a character. I have wanted to write a book where the main character was a crime reporter for a while now. I tend to gravitate toward heroes who are regular guys, and I wanted to see what would happen when I put this particular hero into various situations (and a little hot water). What would he do? How would he react? What, exactly, was he made of?

However, if main character Brooks McClain was going to be a crime reporter, that meant I had to come up with a crime (which ultimately, I’d have to solve). I’ve never written a book with a mystery or suspense element before, but I wasn’t going to let a little thing like that get in the way of telling this story. I’ve said time and time again that I never want to be an author who writes the same book over and over, but with that motto comes challenges. I have to deal with the discomfort that comes from tackling something different than I’ve done before, and often this means learning new things.

I have a love/hate relationship with research. I keep telling myself I’m going to write a book that doesn’t require as much research, and then I write a book that requires extensive research. I should really start listening to myself! Some of the things I did in the name of research for Every Time I Think of You included taking a four-hour firearms safety course and learning how to load and shoot a gun, which was something I didn’t have any experience with.

I also studied ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, by reading memoirs and poring over countless websites dedicated to the disease. Although the timing of the recent ALS ice bucket challenge is merely a coincidence, it makes me happy to know that this devastating illness is receiving such an outpouring of support from the general public.

I studied addiction, specifically methamphetamine addiction. What I learned was heart-wrenching, eye-opening, and often tragic. In total, I read six memoirs about addiction and read countless online articles. I watched a fascinating Frontline documentary from PBS about methamphetamine addiction and its effects on law enforcement and the community.

I reached out to a criminal defense attorney in California so that I could gain an understanding of that state’s legal processes, and I spent several hours in person and on the phone with my cousin Jack, who is a detective with the Des Moines Police Department. Jack was instrumental in explaining the outcomes of all the different scenarios I proposed (naturally, I named the detective character after him). I interviewed three different crime reporters (who all told me slightly different things), and one of them saved me from a potentially embarrassing gaffe. In Every Time I Think of You, I include an actual newspaper article written by Brooks McClain. Newspaper reporters use the Associated Press Stylebook to ensure that their articles are written correctly whereas The Chicago Manual of Style is the go-to guide for fiction writers. The crime reporter who proofed my article had me make a small tweak so that it was correct in form.

I spoke to a nurse, to make sure I got the details of Daisy’s DiStefano’s work schedule correct. There were less significant things I needed the answers to, such as what kind of jewelry a nurse would be permitted to wear to work and what floor she might work on if she were involved with a particular patient.

In addition to the factual research necessary to write this story, I also had to choose the path I’d take to solve the crime. I learned that there were a few different ways I could handle this: One, I could write the story in such a way that the reader would probably not know who committed the crime until the very end. Two, I could choose the slightly-less-suspenseful route and let the reader be privy to clues that would allow them to guess the identity of the perpetrator much earlier. That way, I could let the focus of the story rest on how the person would be brought to justice. I chose option two because I felt it would lend emotional resonance and depth to the story.

Now that I knew how I’d tell the story, I needed to concentrate on the characters. I usually have a pretty good outline in place before I sit down to start writing. This method doesn’t work for everyone, but for me it helps to have a roadmap of sorts so that I don’t waste too much time writing myself into corners. This is not a spoiler because you know from the blurb that the book deals with the aftermath of the death of Daisy’s beloved grandmother. However, once I was about a fourth of the way through the first draft, I realized that the character I’d chosen to commit the crime didn’t actually do it.

I fought it for a while, but the more I got to know these characters, the more I realized my inner muse was right. This person couldn’t have done it.

Delete, delete, delete, delete. Sigh.

The real perpetrator had a motive, but it was subtle and at first I couldn’t see it. And the person who I’d originally intended to commit the crime was actually somewhat responsible. But it will be up to the reader to draw their own conclusions about what transpired that evening in Daisy’s grandmother’s apartment, because the opening chapter of the book is narrated by Daisy’s three-year-old son, who has a very limited ability to explain it. I actually first wrote this opening chapter from the point-of-view of Daisy’s grandmother, Pauline. It gave the book a much darker tone than I wanted so I scrapped it and decided to let Elliott take the reins.

There is also one final plot thread that I chose not to tie up with a big red ribbon. Initially I wrote a paragraph that would have explained why a certain character made the choice that he did, but then I realized it wasn’t necessary. Readers are smart and book discussions are extra fun when there’s a bit of speculation involved.

I’m not an especially fast or prolific writer, and that’s fine with me. Between the research and the actual writing time, this book took fourteen months to complete, and there were times I wanted to pull my hair out. I’d told my husband there were a couple of twists I was hoping to pull off, but wasn’t sure I knew how to accomplish them. I told several people that writing this book made my brain hurt (but one of the readers who received an advance copy told me she kept saying to herself as she read it, “This book is so smart!”). When I hear feedback like that, it tells me that everything I did in the name of Every Time I Think of You was worth it.

I hope you enjoy Brooks and Daisy’s story.

Synopsis

Thirty-year-old Daisy DiStefano has two people she holds dear: the grandmother who raised her, and her three-year-old son, Elliott. But when Daisy’s grandmother is killed in a seemingly random act of violence, Daisy must take steps to protect herself and her child.

Despite a thriving career in San Francisco, thirty-six-year-old Brooks McClain has returned home to spend what little time his mother has left before she succumbs to the deadly disease that is ravaging her. The seasoned investigative reporter has taken a position with the local newspaper and been on the job less than twenty-four hours when he’s summoned to cover the death of Pauline Thorpe.

Brooks is all business, but the more time he spends with Daisy DiStefano, the more invested he becomes; there’s something about a single mother, a defenseless child, and an unsolved crime that has stirred Brooks’s protective instincts like nothing ever has before.

And when the unthinkable happens, Brooks will do whatever it takes to clear the name of the woman he’s fallen for and the child he’ll protect at any cost.

Romantic and suspenseful, Every Time I Think of You shows how far two people will go to fight for the ones they love, and the life they’ve always imagined.

Buy Every Time I Think of You

Amazon US (paperback and e-book)
Barnes & Noble (paperback and e-book)
Apple
Kobo
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK
Amazon Australia

Giveaway (open internationally)

ONE WINNER WILL RECEIVE:

  1. ONE signed copy of each book: On the Island, Covet, and Every Time I Think of You
  2. $50 gift cards to Amazon and Barnes & Noble
  3. An ARC of my next work-in-progress, The Girl He Used to Know (an adult contemporary second-chance romance novel); and
  4. Finally, I will either use the winner’s name in The Girl He Used to Know (first name or last name only, or your actual real name if comfortable) OR the winner can suggest a name for a character.

**The restrictions are that it will not be the name of a main character. It will be a supporting or minor character. Also, this is a fictional character. It is not a character based on the winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Every Time I Think of You and Cherish Pre-Order Links

Hello, everyone!

It’s hard to believe that the publication of Every Time I Think of You is only a few weeks away. Cherish is not far behind and will be here in a couple of months.

Two releases six weeks apart? How did that happen? I’m just as surprised as you are.

Here are the pre-order links for Every Time I Think of You (release date 9/16/14). I thought it would be easier to put them all in one post instead of trying to post them individually on Facebook and Twitter.

Amazon US (e-book and paperback)

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Amazon Australia 

Barnes & Noble

Apple

Kobo

 

Here are the pre-order links for Cherish (Covet, #1.5) (release date 10/28/14).

Amazon US (e-book and paperback)

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Amazon Australia

Barnes & Noble

Apple

Kobo 

Happy Friday!!

 

 

 

 

Cherish Cover Reveal!

Hello, everyone!

I’m so excited to share the cover of Cherish with you today. Sarah Hansen at Okay Creations has once again worked her magic. Isn’t it gorgeous?

*If you haven’t read Covet, consider the rest of this post a spoiler.*

Readers have been asking me for almost a year if Daniel would ever get his own happily-ever-after. For the longest time I wasn’t even really considering it. I didn’t have anything in mind for how I’d want the story to play out, but then an idea hit me pretty hard. Suddenly, Daniel (and Jessie) were all I could think about. I typed furiously, trying to get all my thoughts down so I wouldn’t lose them. I told my husband I wanted to write the story and I outlined it for him when we were in the car (I had a captive audience – he couldn’t escape and had to listen to me ramble on).

So, if you’ve been wondering what happened to Daniel after he was injured in the line of duty, you’ll be able to find out on October 28th. Cherish is a novella-length sequel, not a companion or alternate POV story.

If you adore second-chance romances, Cherish is for you.

Title: Cherish (Covet, #1.5)
Author: Tracey Garvis Graves
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Romance

Add Cherish on Goodreads

Fans of Covet by New York Times bestselling author Tracey Garvis Graves will be delighted by this novella-length sequel.

Synopsis

When Daniel Rush wakes up in the hospital after suffering a gunshot wound to the head, the last person he expects to see at his bedside is his ex-wife Jessica. Their marriage disintegrated after the death of their infant son Gabriel, and Daniel gave Jessie what he thought she wanted: the freedom to start over with someone else. But Daniel never updated his emergency contact information, and Jessie is the one who receives the call with the devastating news.

Daniel was Jessie’s one true love. Together since college, Jessie had dreams of raising a family with Daniel, and growing old together. When Gabriel died, Jessie buried those dreams with her beloved son and shut everyone out, including Daniel.

Daniel faces months of grueling rehabilitation and he’s going to need some help. Jessie is the last person anyone expects to volunteer, but this is her one chance to make amends, giving her and Daniel a shot at getting things right this time.

The road to recovery will be long and arduous. But with Jessie leading the way, Daniel just might be able to get his old life back.

Daniel knows how to covet. But can Jessie help him remember how to cherish?

*Please note that this is a novella-length sequel. Reading Covet before Cherish is highly recommended in order to enhance your reading pleasure.

Pre-Order

Would you like to pre-order Cherish? Simply click on the highlighted link below. Pre-order links for additional retailers will be coming soon, and I’ll post them as soon as they become available.

Pre-Order Cherish at Amazon

Read Covet, to see where Daniel’s story begins