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Hey All, Get Thee Over To Magic And Mayhem And Meet My Friend Amanda!

  • September 27, 2011

Good morning everyone,

Today my friend Amanda gave me the most awesome shout out on the Magic and Mayhem blog. I met Amanda on Twitter one night when we were both participating in an #askagent chat. She answered one of my questions and her answer was much nicer than the snarky one I received from someone else. I knew instantly she was the type of person I would get along great with and that first impression has proved to be spot-on. She is truly wonderful and supportive and I’m lucky to have found her.

She is also a kick-ass writer and her debut novel will be available in December (don’t call me that day because I will be holed up in front of my fireplace drinking wine and reading it). Click here to check it out!

Amanda also has a blog called Swords, Boots, and Shadows (how cool is that title?). You can check out her blog here.

If I’ve learned anything in my three years of blogging and two years on Twitter, it’s that writers are truly a positive group of people. If I need beta readers my blog followers are quick to volunteer. If I’m not sure of the correct spelling of whiskey (or is is whisky?), I can tweet a request for help and receive a helpful answer in no time (majority vote: whiskey).

I’ve met so many incredible and talented people on the Internet, and it’s like having a network of awesomeness I can tap whenever I need an answer to a writing-related question or just a pick-me-up that will be sure to put a smile on my face.

Amanda sure did that today. Because she’s awesome.


The Amusing and Somewhat Alarming Search Phrases People Use That Send Them To This Blog

  • September 25, 2011

1. Long dark hair cowgirl in love. I feel compelled to point out, again, that I’m wearing this cowboy hat ironically. I bought it because Trish and I went to that big country mud bash thingie.
2. Marble jar method, is it working?
3. Big boobs Hillbilly Handfishin’.
4. Flashback Friday – Timeline of my spiritual life. Also a bit misleading as I’ve mentioned I’m a current member of the church of “do the right thing”
5. Disney princess porn. Dude, seriously? That’s messed up. And yet, here you go.
6. Funny thoughts from the ‘hood. Self explanatory. I need to meet this person in real life.
7. Pregnant thought she had to poop. Really, Internet? (I didn’t know I was pregnant).
8. Dirty T-shirt party.
9. Get over yourself Kelly Killoren Bensimon
10. crack dip recipe.

An Open And Somewhat Hostile Letter To My Dipshit Mailman

  • September 24, 2011

Dear dude that delivers my mail,

Are you high?

No, really. Are you? Because I can think of no other reason why you are so completely horrible at your job. I mean, you totally suck at it.

When we built our house six years ago, I was overjoyed to discover that my ‘hood utilized a safe and secure clusterbox system for the receipt of incoming mail. Accessible only by key, I’d never have to worry about valuable mail going missing due to the sticky fingers of a random, passing kleptomaniac or a roving band of marauding thirteen-year-old boys who think it’s hysterical to steal mail.

However, clusterbox notwithstanding, why the hell are you so incompetent Mr. Postman? I understand that you may have a substance abuse problem but there are plenty of 12-step programs to assist you in kicking whatever it is you’re smoking/drinking/huffing while on the job. There are like, sponsors and everything.

And lest you think I’m being a total bitch, let me list the ways in which you suck.

Three years ago you failed to deliver the tax returns that my accountant lovingly prepared. No worries though, you sent them to my neighbor and she was nice enough to walk them across the street to me. Fine. Whatever. At that point I put you on probation, but no real harm done.

However, a few months later a four-figure check destined for me was delivered to yet a different neighbor. I sensed a pattern developing and I WAS NOT A FAN. Luckily, my neighbor is one of my best friends so the check made its way to me safely. I cursed you, but I got over it.

But then, THEN! you misplaced another check a week ago (this one also containing 4 figures) and the only reason I knew about it is because the sender of said check called me up and said, “Yeah, the check I tried to send you just got returned. It says on the front that there’s no such address.” I expect this bullshit from MapQuest but not you, Mr. Postman, considering you drive by my house and cram a bunch of unwanted mail into my clusterhole every damn day. For instance, I don’t seem to miss out on a single issue of the American Girl catalog, therefore Veruca Salt Lauren continues to announce, loudly, upon spotting it: “I want another American Girl doll Mummy and I want it now!” (pretend you read that last line with an English accent. DO IT!). Also, the eleventy-billion requests Discover Card has been sending since 1991 appear on a daily basis as do 47,000 advertisements for car insurance and 97 carpet cleaning coupons. So it’s not like you aren’t capable of putting my mail in slot #3. You totally are.

And you know what else? I’m tired of getting “Gary’s” mail every day. Though “Gary” starts with the same consonant as both of my last names, mixing our mail together all willy-nilly because there are some “G’s” sprinkled on it is a quality control fail of the sloppiest kind. I mean, isn’t sorting the mail according to our names kind of the number one thing in your job description? You have managed to turn my safe and secure clusterbox into something else entirely. I have given it a new name and trust me when I say I am *not* amused.

So consider this your final warning. I’m watching you, and if I see your little Cheech and Chong mail truck making its way down my street belching little puffs of dooby-smoke, the floor littered with Cheetos and Twinkie wrappers, I will chase you down and stab you with my kitchen scissors thus giving new meaning to the phrase “going postal”.

However, if you can straighten up and fly right (and put down the giant bong), I’m willing to let bygones be bygones.

Peace out,


Fiction Friday – Virtual Launch Party For On The Island!

  • September 9, 2011

***Edited to add that links are not all clicky. You’ll have to copy and paste. Blame Blogger. I have (it’s probably my fault, though).

Good morning and happy Friday everyone! My debut novel went live on Amazon and Barnes and Noble this week and I’d like to welcome you to the virtual launch party for On the Island.

Time: Now until 11:59 p.m. tonight.

Place: The Interwebz (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc…) If you’re reading this but we aren’t already Facebook friends, send me a friend request! You can never have too many friends (or too much wine, am I right?) Also, are you following me on Twitter? If you’d like to, my Twitter handle is @tgarvisgraves.

Dress code: Island wear, naturally. I know a few of you will probably arrive full of Captain Morgan rum but sans pants but that’s okay because it’s virtual.

So, how does a virtual launch party work?

Well, first of all, check out the book on Amazon. If you click on the book cover in my sidebar in the upper-left hand corner, it will take you right to it.

Or, if you’re a Nook user, here’s the link for the listing on Barnes and Noble (sorry, you’ll have to copy and paste. Blogger is not letting me insert the link. Or I’m too tired this morning and I’m doing something wrong).

There will also be a paperback edition, but it has not been released yet.

So if the paperback isn’t out yet, and I don’t have an e-reader, how can I read On the Island?

There are several free Amazon apps you can use to read On the Island. This one is my favorite:

***You’ll have to copy and paste links. Thanks for nothing, Blogger.

It’s the Kindle app for PC. Before I got my Kindle, I downloaded this app to my laptop and read many, many books on it, sitting in my comfy reading chair. When I got my Kindle all my ebooks transferred to it which was super cool. But if you’ve been thinking about buying an e-reader now is the time (and not just because I wrote a book you can read on it). You can get a Kindle for as low as $114 and YOU WILL LOVE IT. Here are some links for other devices that you can download free Kindle apps to:

Copy and paste: (iphone), (BlackBerry), (ipad), and (Android). Personally, I’d rather stab myself in the eye than read a whole book on my smartphone, but that’s just me.

There are a whole bunch of free apps for Nook too.

Now, back to the virtual launch part of the party. I will be pasting this blog post into my Facebook status update and I’m asking anyone who’d like to participate in the launch to copy and paste my link into their status update, too. That way, all their Facebook friends can check out the book. If you’ve read On the Island, make sure and mention that, too.

Many of you have already done this and I am so very appreciative. If you have, there is no need to do it again, but I do want you to know that your fabulous PR has already garnered me several sales. And some of the people that have purchased the book have finished it and sent me messages on Facebook about how much they enjoyed it. I don’t know if you understand exactly how it feels to get feedback like that. It’s surreal, actually, and it makes me so happy I want to cry. Reviews are starting to trickle in and that is the single most important thing you can do to help a debut author. For that I thank you.

And because you have all done so much for me, there will be prizes awarded when the virtual launch party is done.

If you copy and paste my status into your Facebook status, or you tweet about my book, or you link to it on your blog or just WHATEVER, please let me know about it. You can leave a comment on Facebook, include @tgarvisgraves on Twitter, or you can comment on this blog post. I will be putting the names of everyone who participated in a hat and will let the offspring draw two names on Saturday morning (this will include those of you who have already told your Facebook friends – I’ve been keeping track). There will have to be two winners because the offspring will have a knock-down, drag-out fight about who gets to draw the name because God forbid only one of them gets to do it.

So, what are the prizes? Well, don’t get too excited. Dave put the big kibosh on the prize I really wanted to give, so we’ll have to settle for two $50 gift cards (one per winner). I’ll have plenty of options to choose from and I’ll notify the winners on Facebook sometime Saturday (in between drinking beer and watching the Iowa game). So, maybe Saturday late afternoon.

I want to thank everyone again. On the Island has been 18 months in the making and it has been a wonderful experience. Many of you have been so supportive throughout the process and I’m lucky to have such great friends.

So, happy Friday everyone! Let’s launch this thing.


P.S. Please don’t think I’m ignoring anyone today. I’ll be at work, so I won’t be able to interact on Facebook until I get home. I can use my BlackBerry at lunchtime to moderate blog comments or check tweets, but that’s about it. But I’ll be there in spirit, and I’ll lift my virtual wine glass to you. Cheers!

Fiction Friday – A Cover, Some Jacket Copy, and a Playlist

  • September 2, 2011

Happy fiction Friday (and Labor Day weekend) everyone!

I wanted to show you the awesome cover my blogging bestie Penne made for me (blogger wouldn’t let me upload the PDF, so I had to settle for the JPEG. It looks much clearer on my computer screen so I’m not sure why it doesn’t show up better here, but you get the general idea). You can also click on it a couple times to make it bigger.

Here’s the jacket copy/product description:

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family’s summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day.

T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He’s almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn’t bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family – and a stack of overdue assignments – instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.’s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

Next up is the playlist I listened to while I was writing On the Island. I used to play “Roll With the Changes” on repeat, especially in my car, and I wanted to use the first verse as an epigraph at the beginning of a certain chapter but you can’t unless you pay for the right to do that and, even more daunting, get the members of REO Speedwagon (or whoever owns the rights) to say it’s okay (hello? *waves hand* Kevin Cronin? I have a question for you). That sounds like a lot of work and money. So no epigraph.

I wonder if those of you who have already read On the Island could guess where I would have put the epigraph. It might surprise you.

The rest of these songs all have meaning and it’s strange how much a playlist can influence the writing. For Covet, the book I’m writing now, I’ve been in an adult contemporary phase which is weird because you know I’m a 70’s girl.

“Long, Long Way From Home” – Foreigner
“Fins” – Jimmy Buffet
“Island Girl” – Elton John
“Sweet Child ‘O Mine” – Guns ‘N Roses
“Roll With The Changes” – REO Speedwagon
“Coconuts” – Widespread Panic
“Changes In Attitude, Changes In Latitude” – Jimmy Buffet
“Wish You Were Here” – Pink Floyd
“Don’t Drink The Water” – Dave Matthews Band
“Don’t Let Him Go” – REO Speedwagon
“Have You Ever Seen The Rain” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
“I’ll Be” – Edwin McCain
“Ridin’ The Storm Out” – REO Speedwagon

I received my ebooks from the book formatter last night and I’ll be able to upload to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords on Sunday when there will be a break in our weekend festivities. It will take anywhere from 6-48 hours to go live (although I heard it’s usually closer to 24). Next week’s focus will be sending everything to Amazon’s CreateSpace for the paperback version. I’ve heard that process can be…difficult. But ignorance is bliss so for now I’m assuming a couple mouse clicks and woo hoo, paperback!

I’m also planning a virtual launch party on Facebook (date: TBD). I am hoping for sometime next week, maybe Friday? A virtual launch party is just a fancy way of asking my Facebook friends to copy the link for my blog post announcing the book’s release into their status update so that their friends can check out the listing on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you would like to participate in this launch, please let me know. I’d be honored and I would appreciate it so much. I will be holding a random drawing for some fabulous prizes for those who help me launch. If you’d like to be included, please let me know, either by commenting on this blog, or replying on Facebook.

It’s a good feeling having this preparation behind me. After 18 months, I’m ready to move on and immerse myself in the new book.

Thanks to all of you who have helped me along the way. Your kind words of encouragement mean a lot. More than you’ll ever know, actually.

Have a good weekend!


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