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

Cover Reveal, Sneak Peek, and Pre-Order Link for Every Time I Think of You

I am so excited to share the cover for my upcoming new release Every Time I Think of You. I asked Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations to work her magic, and work it she did! Isn’t it pretty?

 

 

Title: Every Time I Think of You
Author: Tracey Garvis Graves
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: 9/16/14

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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.

Chapter One

Three-year-old Elliott DiStefano hid underneath his mother’s bed when the shouting started. He didn’t understand what the raised voices coming from the living room meant, but instinct told him to hide.

No one ever yelled in his house. Sometimes they used a different tone with him, firmer. “Stop climbing everything, you little monkey,” his mama would say or, “It’s time to pick up your toys and get ready for bed,” Nana would announce. Most of the time he would do what they said, although sometimes they had to ask him twice, especially if what he’d rather do was play a little longer. But they never spoke to him in such a harsh way, and they never told him to shut up like the man in the living room just did to Nana.

Elliott clutched his favorite green army man tightly in his hand. His nana had given him a bath after their early dinner at five, and asked if he was ready to put on his pajamas. “I can do it myself,” he’d told her, and she’d smiled and walked out of the bedroom he shared with Mama, closing the door behind her. She’d promised they could watch a movie and that Elliott could have one of the cookies they’d baked earlier that day for his bedtime snack. But then someone knocked on the door and now there was yelling and no movie and no cookie.

The man’s voice was scary and mean. Nana sounded like she was crying and as Elliott’s fear grew he began to tremble. The yelling got a little louder, followed by a crash and a thud. Then nothing. Was the bad man still there? What if he’d left but planned to come back? Elliott could no longer hear Nana’s voice and he wondered where she went. Did she leave? Did she go with the man? He curled himself into a tight ball and began to cry silent tears.

He had no way of knowing how much time had passed. It was dark under the bed and the crying had tired him out, so he rubbed his stinging eyes and took a little nap. When he woke up he desperately needed to go to the bathroom. His mama and Nana had been so proud of him when he stopped wearing diapers, and he hardly ever had accidents, but he couldn’t risk leaving the safety he’d found under the bed. The minutes ticked by and though he tried his best to hold it, he peed in his pajamas, soaking himself from the waist down. He started to shiver.

It was quiet for a long time and then someone banged on the door and shouted something, but Elliott didn’t know if that was bad or good. He heard voices in the living room, not yelling, just talking, but he remained hidden. Mama would be home soon and she’d know what to do. Elliott decided to wait for her under the bed.

More voices, drawing closer. The door to the bedroom opened. Elliott froze, wondering if it was the bad man coming to get him. He didn’t make a sound as a pair of legs wearing dark blue pants, with a stripe down the side, came into view. If he didn’t say a word or make any noise, maybe the person would leave.

No one would have known he was there if he hadn’t coughed at that very moment. It was a bit dusty underneath the bed, and Elliott already felt a little wheezy, like he might need another dose of his medicine. The legs bent as someone crouched down to look under the bed and Elliott squeezed his eyes shut, terrified of what he might see.

“It’s okay.” The man said, speaking softly. “I’m a policeman. I’m here to help. Can you come out from under there?” Heart pounding, Elliott didn’t answer. He couldn’t.

More footsteps. More dark blue legs. Elliott stayed put. No one was yelling, but Elliott’s heart was still beating fast, and his body felt like Jell-O. A lady wearing a dark blue uniform lay down on the floor next to the bed. “What’s your name?” she asked. She sounded a little like his mama. Her smile was nice like Mama’s, too. He didn’t think a bad person would smile at him, so he answered her. “Ewiott,” he whispered.

“My name is Officer Ochoa but you can call me Regina, okay?” He nodded. “How old are you, Elliott?” she asked. Using the hand not clutching the army man he held up three fingers.

“Three, huh? That’s a good age. I want you to know that you’re safe and no one will hurt you. Can you come out from under there? Here, take my hand.” She stretched out her hand to him and he hesitated but finally touched her palm with his fingers. She urged him gently toward her. Once he was close enough she reached in and grabbed him by his pajama top, pulling him the rest of the way out.

Elliott blinked and let his eyes adjust to the light. One of the officers noticed his wet pajamas, and his shivering, and they wrapped his Thomas the Tank Engine comforter around him, speaking in low, soothing tones.

“I want Nana and Mama,” he said. They could barely hear him.

“What is your mama’s name?” they asked.

“Daisy,” he said. He knew this was true because it was the name other people called her when they said hello. And it was easy to remember because it was the name of a flower, and he liked flowers.

“Do you know your last name?”

He nodded. He and Mama had practiced saying it. “DiStefano,” Elliott said. Maybe it didn’t come out as clearly as it sounded to him because they repeated it back like a question and he nodded.

The officers exchanged a glance and one of them said, “Got it.” The officer who spoke scribbled something on a pad of paper and left the room.

“We’re going to take you to the police station and we’ll call your mom so she can come get you,” Officer Ochoa said. “Okay?”

He wanted his mama more than anything, so he said okay, and when she bent down and scooped him up, comforter and all, he put his arms around her neck. She hurried down the hallway and just before they got to the door, when he would have tried to look for Nana to make sure she was coming too, Officer Ochoa pulled Elliott’s head down to her chest and all he could see was the dark blue of her uniform.

Pre-Order

Would you like to pre-order Every Time I Think of You? 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 Every Time I Think of You at Amazon

Trailer

Special Announcement from Wordsmith Publicity

We are thrilled to announce that best selling author Tracey Garvis-Graves will be releasing an Adult Romantic Suspense novel this year! Please be sure to watch the gorgeous trailer for EVERY TIME I THINK OF YOU, read the excerpt, and don’t forget to add it to your reading list!
Title: Every Time I Think of You
Author: Tracey Garvis-Graves
Release date: TBA 2014
Book Description:

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.

TRAILER
EXCERPT

My watch said 11:00 p.m. Way too late to show up unannounced, but I knocked on Daisy’s door anyway, picturing her tip-toeing quietly to look through the peephole. It took a full minute because I’d undoubtedly roused her from a sound sleep. But then she opened the door far enough for me to cross the threshold and locked it again behind me.

The apartment was dark, save for a small beam of light that spilled into the hallway from her bedroom. As my eyes adjusted I noticed her hair. I’d never seen it down before. It fell way past her shoulders and was slightly messy, like she’d been tossing and turning in her sleep before I arrived. She wore a pair of pajama pants and a tank top with narrow straps, one of which had fallen off her shoulder.

“What is it?” she asked. “Are you okay?”

“My mom died,” I said. It felt strange to say the words out loud. My voice sounded flat, unemotional.

“I’m so sorry, Brooks,” she said, but she didn’t say anything else.

I wanted something that would take away the empty, restless feeling inside of me. Something solid and real. She was standing close enough that one step was all I needed to close the gap between us. She must have taken a shower right before she went to bed because when I plunged my hands into all that hair, grabbing fistfuls and pulling her up against me, I felt the dampness and smelled the faint traces of her shampoo.

I moved my hands to the sides of her face and cupped it. She didn’t miss a beat when I pressed my lips to hers. She was probably wondering how I could possibly kiss her at a time like this, but it didn’t stop her from putting her arms around me and kissing me back like it was exactly what she needed, too.

Like the steady turn of a release valve, everything that had been bottled up inside of me escaped slowly through that kiss. I hadn’t realized how rigidly I’d been holding my body until it slackened against hers. How tightly I’d been clenching my jaw until I relaxed it to kiss her. All the tension I’d been feeling disappeared when she opened her mouth and let me in.

It was a long slow kiss, the kind that wasn’t meant to lead to anything else and was all the more powerful because of it. When I’d finally had enough I said, “I don’t know why I came. It’s late. I woke you up.”

“It’s okay,” she said softly. “I don’t mind.”

“Go back to bed,” I whispered.

She nodded and I opened the door. “Lock this behind me,” I said, and I waited in the hallway until I heard the tumble of the lock clicking into place.


About the Author:

Tracey Garvis-Graves is the author of On the Island and Covet. She lives in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, two children, and hyper dog Chloe. She blogs at www.traceygarvisgraves.com using colorful language and a snarky sense of humor to write about pop culture, silly television shows, and her suburban neighborhood. You can e-mail her at traceygarvisgraves@yahoo.com. She’d love to hear from you.